Aberdeen moved up to third in the Premiership, with Sam Cosgrove’s goal sealing a 1-0 win over struggling Hamilton at chilly Pittodrie.
The Dons started the day two points behind Well – who play Rangers tomorrow – having dropped into fourth following the 3-0 defeat at Easter Road last weekend.
Derek McInnes made three changes, with Funso Ojo making his first start since September following a hamstring tear. Niall McGinn returned after two weeks out with a calf injury, while Ryan Hedges – on the bench for Hibs – also came in.
To facilitate McGinn’s inclusion on the left wing, Greg Leigh dropped into full-back, which meant Andy Considine dropped to the bench. Jon Gallagher made way for Hedges, who played in the 10 as James Wilson remained on the right wing.
Zak Vyner – used in central midfield in the absence of Ojo and fellow summer signing Craig Bryson – was out of the squad completely, perhaps the victim of a sickness bug which affected the squad over the last week. Centre-back Michael Devlin was also entirely absent.
On six minutes Wilson saw a close-range side-footed effort turned round the post by Luke Southwood after a Shay Logan centre.
It was all Aberdeen early on, but it wasn’t very entertaining as second-bottom Hamilton sat deep. On 25 minutes a chance was finally fashioned after an extended period of possession, with Cosgrove nodding another Logan delivery by the far post.
McGinn then spun Scott McMann out on the right, but then hesitated in the box, his blocked effort falling to Hedges, who could only send a deflected shot into the diving Southwood’s hands.
Hamilton remained steadfastly compact.
On 35 minutes there was almost a suckerpunch as Accies skipper Aaron McGowan headed wide from a free-kick.
Immediately after, McGinn’s low shot from seven yards was saved by Southwood and Wilson couldn’t net on the follow-up.
Just before half-time Leigh pulled up and was replaced with Considine, and – in stoppage time – Southwood again prevented the opener, this time as Logan attempted to net from a McGinn ball in.
Ojo didn’t emerge for the second half, with McInnes opting for precaution on his return to the side. He was replaced by Gallagher.
Aberdeen finally got their goal on 53 minutes. McGinn was given far too much time on the left of the Accies area and, when he crossed to the back post, Cosgrove was able to clip the ball into the net side-footed for his 19th of the season.
Relegation-threatened Accies had to come out and play, but by 64 minutes, all they’d mustered was George Oakley’s blast over from 22 yards.
Hedges, who’d been in the middle of the park since the break, was replaced by Dean Campbell – who sealed a new Dons deal on Friday – on 72 minutes.
However, the game had slowed to a snail’s pace.
Although there was a moment of panic as keeper Joe Lewis got slightly flummoxed by a Hamilton cross, there was very little in the way of further chances, with Wilson firing over on 88 minutes.