Aberdeen romped into the quarter-finals of the Betfred Cup with ease as they swept a hapless St Mirren aside in impressive fashion at Pittodrie.
The Dons were rampant against the Buddies, who defensively, simply could not cope with the Gary Mackay-Steven inspired red waves of attack which came their way.
Saints were fortunate only to be three goals behind at the interval, such was Aberdeen’s superiority in this cup-tie. On another day this could have been very messy indeed for the visitors who will be grateful the final margin of defeat was not greater.
Scott Wright made a huge impresion in his first start of the season, as did Frank Ross.
The Dons suffered a setback before a ball had even been kicked when winger Niall McGinn suffered an injury in the warm-up and with the Northern Ireland unable to take part Ross replaced him in the starting line-up.
The tone was set from the opening whistle and it took the Dons all of 10 seconds to test Craig Samson in the Saints goal with the keeper doing well to turn Stevie May’s shot from a Mackay-Steven cross past the post for a corner.
It was one-way traffic towards the Saints goal and Samson made another fine save to turn Lewis Ferguson’s diving header over the crossbar from another Mackay-Steven cross and from the resulting corner Ferguson fired just wide.
It was only delaying the inevitable, however, as Aberdeen’s dominance was rewarded in the 16th minute when another exchange down the left ended with Ferguson crossing for Mackay-Steven who beat Samson with a volley from 12 yards.
Within four minutes the Dons effectively put this tie beyond the Saints thanks to another excellently crafted team goal.
Stevie May released Mackay-Steven down the right and the winger drifted past Hayden Coulson before picking out Graeme Shinnie at the back post and Dons captain powered a header high into the net to double his side’s lead.
The Saints were shambolic at the back and their miserable day got worse as Samson’s attempted pass was intercepted by Wright and the winger took the ball past the goalkeeper before squaring the ball for May who fired it high into the empty net for his first goal of the campaign.
Poor Coulson was given a torrid time by Mackay-Steven and the Dons winger seemed able to go past his opponent at will and another moment of trickery left the defender bamboozled once more but Mackay-Steven was denied a second when his shot was blocked by Samson.
The Saints goalkeeper, despite his error, kept the score respectable and he made another superb save to deny Shinnie on the stroke of half-time to ensure it was only 3-0. Honestly, it could have been seven, easily, in the opening 45 minutes alone.
The hapless Coulson’s miserable afternoon continued in the second half when Mackay-Steven’s quick feet ended with the winger being tripped in the box. by the full back. Referee Steven McLean pointed to the spot and Mackay-Steven duly converted, firing low past Samson to complete the scoring.
An excellent afternoon for the Dons.
Aberdeen (4-2-3-1) – Lewis 6, Ball 6, Devlin 6, Considine 6, Shinnie 7, Gleeson 6, Ferguson 7, Ross (Forrester 61) 7, Mackay-Steven 8, Wright (Anderson 71) 7, May (McLennan 80) 7. Subs not used – Cerny, Cosgrove, Campbell, Anderson, Roscoe.
St Mirren (4-4-2) – Samson 6, P. McGinn 5, Coulson 4, S. McGinn 6, Magennis 5, Brock-Madsen (Cooke 81) 5, Smith (MacPherson 63) 5, Baird 5, Mullen 5, Willock 5, Kpekawa (Jones 52) 5. Subs not used – Muir, Heaton, McShane, King.
Referee – Steven McLean 7
Attendance – 9,011.
Man of the match – Gary Mackay-Steven