Aberdeen striker Sam Cosgrove reached double figures for the season as his brace set the Dons on the way to a comfortable victory against Hamilton at New Douglas Park.
Cosgrove netted his 10th and 11th goals of the campaign before Lewis Ferguson scrambled home a third as Derek McInnes’s side increased the pressure on beleaguered Accies boss Martin Canning.
The final margin of victory could easily have been more as the Dons shrugged off a sluggish start to dominate the home side with McInnes’ starting attacking quartet impressing.
The arrival, or should we say return to be precise, of Greg Stewart gave the Dons fresh attacking impetus and the on-loan Birmingham City forward impressed in a one-sided victory for the Reds.
Hamilton came into this game having lost six of their seven matches and with fans quick to voice their displeasure following Saturday’s Scottish Cup exit at St Johnstone the home side was under pressure to respond at home and they made a bright start against the Dons.
Derek McInnes’s side have not enjoyed their visits to New Douglas Park and Accies were intent on making the visitors’ latest trip an unhappy one.
It took a wonderful save from Dons goalkeeper Joe Lewis to keep the game goalless in the 10th minute as he tipped a Matt Kilgallon header from Dougie Imrie’s corner on to the crossbar and his team-mates managed to clear the danger before an Accies player could convert the rebound.
The early warning sparked the Dons into life and good play down the right from Greg Stewart ended with the attacker finding Gary Mackay-Steven on the edge of the box but the winger fired over the crossbar.
The visitors did not squander their next chance, however, as a rapid break involving Sam Cosgrove, Graeme Shinnie, Greg Stewart, Max Lowe and Stevie May interchanging passes ended with May crossing for Cosgrove whose header across goal was blocked by Kilgallon but the striker reacted quickest to beat Ryan Fulton from six yards.
From there the Dons took control and they had a great chance to double their lead before the interval as another fine passing move ended with Stewart playing the ball to Mackay-Steven in the box but his touch was heavy and from a position of looking to get a shot away his lapse in concentration allowed Accies to clear.
Aberdeen were not to be denied a second though and they got their reward seven minutes into the second half.
Mackay-Steven held off Accies full back Aaron McGowan in his own box and when McGowan went sprawling the home fans screamed for a penalty. However the Dons winger appeared to have won the ball and he quickly strode forward before playing the ball down the line to Cosgrove who span away from Ziggy Gordon before driving into the box and curling the ball into the bottom corner.
Three minutes later the visitors put the game beyond the home side when Fulton made a fine save on the line to keep out Cosgrove’s powerful header from a May cross but former Accies midfielder Ferguson managed to scramble the ball over the line.
It was all too much for some of the home support and a clearly audible chant of “we want Canning out” came from the Main Stand.
By then it was job done for the Dons and they comfortably played out the rest of the game to round off a good night’s work with an impressive victory.