Aberdeen’s three-game losing streak is at an end as they ran out comfortable 2-0 winners against Livingston at Pittodrie.
Ryan Hedges was tormentor in chief for the Dons against a hapless Livingston and on another night he could have had a hat-trick in what was a one-sided display.
A dominant first half should have put this game beyond a Livi team which, it must be said, were dreadful but Hedges’ fine finish was all the Dons had to show for their efforts at the break.
However, David Bates secured the points for Aberdeen 15 minutes from time as the home side picked up an important win.
Jay Emmanuel-Thomas came into the starting line-up for the first time since the 1-0 loss to St Johnstone on September 18 while Funso Ojo returned from suspension.
The duo replaced Dylan McGeouch, who missed out due to injury, and Jack Gurr who dropped to the bench.
Dons boss Stephen Glass was also in the stand for this one after accepting his one match ban following his dismissal in the 1-0 loss to Dundee United at Tannadice last month.
The meeting of two teams struggling for form in the bottom half of the table was never destined to be a classic and it took Aberdeen until the eighth minute to get sight of goal as captain Scott Brown fired a snap shot over the crossbar.
Hedges key cog in Aberdeen’s attack
The Dons struggled to get through a five-man Livingston backline in a subdued opening but one slick passing move ended with a strong appeal for a penalty waved away by referee Craig Napier after Stephane Omeonga looked to have blocked a Hedges cross with his hand.
The rejected appeal sparked the Dons into life and they broke the deadlock midway through the first half.
Emmanuel-Thomas controlled the ball on the halfway line and passed it to Christian Ramirez. The American then played in Hedges and he drove forward. With the Livi defenders backing off the Wales international cut inside before firing the ball low past Max Stryjek.
It should have been 2-0 in the 35th minute after Ramirez sent Hedges clear again. The attacker beat Jackson Longridge but was denied by a terrific block from Stryjek as he stuck out a leg to divert his shot wide of the post.
The confidence flowed through Aberdeen as they pinned Livingston back in search of a second goal before the break and a clever back heel from Emmanuel-Thomas sent Funso Ojo clear but Livi scrambled his cutback clear.
Livingston reduced to 10 men
Livingston as an attacking threat had been non-existent in the first half and visiting manager David Martindale made a double substitution at the interval with former Caley Thistle attacker Andrew Shinnie replacing Ayo Obileye while former Don Bruce Anderson made way for Jack Hamilton.
But two yellows in the space of 15 minutes quickly put Livingston’s hopes of getting back into the game on the backburner.
Longridge was the guilty party, earning a caution at the start of the half for a foul on Ojo with his second on the hour mark coming after a needless challenge on Hedges as he made a clearance on the edge of his own box.
Livi’s hopes of getting something from the game had been forlorn before Longride’s departure.
An uphill task became an impossible one 15 minutes from time as the Dons doubled their lead and put this game beyond their opponents in the process.
It was all so easy too as Hayes delivered a curling free kick across the six yard box and Bates popped up at the back post to stick out a leg and guide the ball past Stryjek.
The only disappointment on what was a good night’s work for the home side came five minutes from time when the impressive Hedges limped off.
The in-demand attacker, who is out contract at the end of the season, is a player the Dons will want on the pitch in their six remaining matches before the winter break on January 2.