Aberdeen stepped up their Europa League preparations with a comfortable 3-1 victory against Arbroath at Gayfield last night.
Adam Rooney fired the Dons in front after 20 minutes before on-loan Birmingham City midfielder Greg Stewart doubled the advantage two minutes before the interval in front of a crowd of 2,081.
Dons substitute Jayden Stockley headed home from close range before Kane Hester pulled one back for Arbroath in the closing stages to take some of the shine off a reasonably impressive performance from the Dons.
This was Aberdeen’s final pre-season friendly ahead of Thursday’s Europa League meeting with Bosnian side NK Siroki Brijeg, although they will take on Doncaster Rovers in a closed-doors friendly this weekend.
After Rangers and St Johnstone fell at the first hurdle in the Europa League to teams from Luxembourg and Lithuania respectively, Scottish football could do with Aberdeen making it to the third qualifying round for the fourth year on the trot.
On this evidence, they look well prepared but still lacking a couple of new faces, particularly a wide midfielder to replace the departed Jonny Hayes.
Aberdeen captain Graeme Shinnie was a notable absentee for last night’s match as Derek McInnes named a strong line-up to take on the Red Lichties with new signings Greg Tansey and Stewart both starting.
The visitors, wearing their blue away kit for the first time, took the lead in the 20th minute with a well-worked move culminating in Miles Storey unselfishly laying the ball across goal for Rooney to slot home.
The Irishman went close to doubling the lead with a delicate chip moments later but this time Ricky Gomes was equal to it.
Storey, who has been linked with a move to Kilmarnock, was enjoying a lively game and was unfortunate not to get on the scoresheet when he fired just past the post before Arbroath midfielder Bobby Linn tried his luck with a free kick that was comfortably saved by Joe Lewis.
Aberdeen finally got their second two minutes before the break when Storey provided another assist for Stewart to drill home his first goal for the Dons with an easy finish from eight yards.
Arbroath almost pulled one back 10 minutes into the second half but Lewis made a tremendous stop to keep out David Gold’s net-bound header.
The Dons continued to enjoy the majority of possession and went close to a third when Rooney was inches away from converting a tantalising cross from Kenny McLean.
Ryan Christie displayed a neat array of touches and flicks and went close to a spectacular third in the 66th minute with a piercing drive that flew over the crossbar.
Substitute Stockley headed home the third from a Tansey corner with 11 minutes to go before Hester netted a consolation for Arbroath in the 86th minute.