Boss Derek McInnes hailed Sam Cosgrove as “unplayable” at times after the striker helped fire the Dons to a 3-0 win against Motherwell.
The 22-year-old set the ball rolling with a deft dinked finish to put Aberdeen ahead at Fir Park before Niall McGinn and Zak Vyner netted after the break.
It was a welcome victory for the Reds, who cut the gap between themselves and the third-placed Steelmen to a point.
After scoring 20 goals last season, Cosgrove has 15 strikes in 16 appearances this term. McInnes says the former Carlisle frontman keeps getting better and better.
The Pittodrie gaffer said: “He looks at times unplayable the way he is at the minute.
“He was feeling a bit under the weather in the days before the game and feeling a bit lethargic, but there was nothing lethargic about his performance.
“He really imposed himself on the centre-backs, I felt he did that last time out against Hibs.
“He’s in a good place at the minute: his link play, his running power, the quality of his finishing, his heading, he gives you a bit of everything at the moment.
“Despite our difficulties when you’ve got someone like him in your team you always feel you can do well.
“He did probably the last thing you’d expect (for his goal), it’s about having the confidence to do that.
“I said to him when he first came he would have probably put that over the stand, or probably wouldn’t have got there because he didn’t have the confidence or power to show himself the way he is.
“People can take credit for his progression – but it’s him that’s done it.
“Somebody took a chance on him and he’s ran with it. His ability is getting better and better and his confidence clearly makes him the player he is.
“I played with No 9s that you heard as soon as they walked in the stadium, they strolled about and bowled about.
“I want that from my No 9, he’s walking about as if he can do no wrong and long may it continue.
“We’ve been so dependent on his goals, but it was good he was supported by others with McGinn chipping in and Zak’s goal from midfield.
“We were a constant threat from set plays and we need everybody playing their part because we were too dependent on him last season.
“He’s carrying the mantle of being Aberdeen’s No 9 which is not easy to deal with coming from where he has, but he’s doing it brilliantly at the minute.”
McInnes’ delight at winning in Lanarkshire was heightened by his lack of central midfield options.
He played defenders Vyner and Greg Leigh in the holding role due to Lewis Ferguson’s suspension, injuries to Funso Ojo and Scott Wright, and Craig Bryson and Stephen Gleeson only being fit enough for the bench.
McInnes added: “I’m delighted with what the players gave us.
“In that area of the pitch (midfield) we thought we were well enough equipped, but it’s been an issue for us.
“We worked all week with Greg Leigh and Zak Vyner in there and I naturally feel Zak can play in there and that’s where he will play his best football in his career.
“But Greg really took to it and the two of them were instrumental in our performance, Greg gets an assist and Zak gets a goal.
“I thought the performance was fantastic from the two of them.”
Dons captain Joe Lewis also received praise from McInnes for saving James Scott’s fifth minute penalty, after the keeper had been penalised for tripping Chris Long.
McInnes said: “We had to do it the difficult way because Joe pulls off a save.
“I’ve watched it back and it’s not a penalty, Joe’s adamant there’s no touch and I don’t think it’s a penalty.
“Thankfully Joe’s made a brilliant save at one end and then Sam’s finish at the other end it probably shows where Sam’s game is at the minute.
“That inspires the rest of the team – your No 9 and your goalie doing that sends out confidence.
“After that I thought we were very good in the game.”