Catch us if you can Rangers… Thumping Dons win gives Rooney belief for second

Aberdeen's Adam Rooney completes his hat-trick

Aberdeen attacker Adam Rooney believes his side’s demolition of Motherwell shows the Dons will not give up their tag as Scotland’s second best team without a struggle.

Rooney, pictured, took his goals tally for the season to 16 with a hat-trick as the Dons swept Motherwell aside 7-2 at Pittodrie on Wednesday with one of the best displays seen at Pittodrie for several years.

The Dons have beaten Kilmarnock 4-0 and 5-1 this season, and also beat Ross County 4-0 at Pittodrie but Wednesday’s win was the club’s biggest of manager Derek McInnes’ reign and the result took Aberdeen three points clear of Rangers in the race to be runner-ups to champions-elect Celtic.

When asked if the win sent out a message to Rangers, Rooney said: “Yes. A 4-0 win has probably been the best we’ve had, but it was a strong performance.

“The manager is always on at us, when we’re winning games 2-0 he wants us to go on and be more ruthless.

“Celtic do it nearly every week, but he wants us to be more like that.

“It’s something we need to get into our game – make sure once we’re in front make sure we don’t get too comfortable, sit back and be happy with the win. We need to get the goal difference up.

“We’re delighted to be in the position we are, but it’s too early to say that’s it, we’re going to be in second place.

“We know we’ll have to work hard for it.

“Hearts and St Johnstone will say they want it as well, but we’re in good form and hopefully we can keep ticking off the wins.”

Since falling seven points behind Rangers on Christmas Eve the Dons’ response has been swift and emphatic.

They have taken 15 points from a possible 18. Rangers have taken five from a possible 15.

McInnes has been linked with the vacant position at Ibrox but Rooney said: “We’re doing our best to keep him aren’t we? I think there’s been 18 managers linked with that job. We don’t focus on that, we focus on ourselves.

“We know the manager really enjoys it here, as do the players. You can see that from the number of players who’ve signed new contracts. It’s a good place to be and hopefully we can keep building.”

The next challenge for the Dons is a trip to Ayrshire on Sunday to play a Kilmarnock side which has conceded nine goals in two games against Aberdeen this season.

Rooney is taking nothing for granted. He said: “We’ve had a good record against Kilmarnock over the past few years, but it’ll be difficult.

“Their manager (Lee Clark) has stepped away so we won’t know what sort of team we’ll be facing, but we’ll go there with confidence high although we won’t take anything for granted.

“Hopefully we can go and get the win, whether it’s 1-0 or 7-0.”Attacker Scott Wright scored both goals as a Dons XI defeated Highland League club Buckie Thistle 2-1 at Victoria Park last night in Darren Strong’s testimonial match.

Lewis MacKinnon had given Buckie an early lead.