Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Saturday 3rd February 2018 at 3pm
Aberdeen 3 Hamilton Academical 0
It was a comfortable three points in the end for the Dons against a depleted and reshuffled Accies side. Andrew Considine’s double and a Niall McGinn strike helped close the gap on Celtic to eight points. We meanwhile drop down to 11th spot, still searching for our first points of 2018.
With a two week break now before the visit of Rangers to NDP, Martin Canning now hopes we can recover and get important players back to reverse a difficult sequence of results.
“It’s always difficult to come up to Aberdeen and play against in my opinion their strongest eleven. We had so many out and it was always going to be a test of the squad. That said, in the first half we gave as good as we got, whereas in the second half we didn’t do enough and started to tire.”
“We’ve had a lot of young players coming in doing well, but it’s a man’s game out there. Big Shaun Want has been excellent, but Considine gets the better of him twice and scores two. That’s the difference at this level.”
“But it wasn’t as if Aberdeen created numerous chances today. We had a really good chance with Ioannis to make it 1-1. There was a foul on Scott McMann before they scored the first goal, but ultimately it hasn’t cost us the game. I thought the shape from us was good. The boys were honest and the effort was there, but at the key moments that little bit of experience probably told.”
“We know it’s going to be a tough fight again this season, but it’s one we’re definitely up for. It’ll be a test of character in the coming weeks, especially for our young players continuing to improve. We’ve always kept the head in these situations and worked hard, and we’ll have four players back for the next game.”
All in all the Accies boss had to make four changes to his side from the defeat to Dundee. Suspended David Templeton missed out, with Dougie Imrie and long term absentee Darian McKinnon now on the injury list. Antonio Rojano meanwhile dropped to the bench. In came Darren Lyon, Scott McMann and Georgios Sarris, with Marios Ogkmpoe starting on his own up front.
Derek McInnes meanwhile made just two changes from the midweek win at Ross County, handing a debut to new keeper Freddie Woodman. O’Connor replaced Arnason in defence as the home side hoped to make it three league wins on the bounce.
It was a slow start as we managed to subdue the hosts for the opening 15 minutes, an out of box Christie shot all Gary Woods had to contend with. At the other end we looked to get Ogkmpoe involved as quickly as possible in his second start. The big Greek was on the end of a few balls, linking up well and giving the Dons defence something to think about.
But just as we were settling into the match, we fell behind to Aberdeen’s first clear opportunity on 24 minutes. We thought we should have had a free kick before a late Redmond challenge won the Dons a set piece on the corner of the Accies box. Niall McGinn’s inswinging delivery came off the back of Shaun Want, took another ricochet, and the ball broke nicely for Considine to prod past a sea of bodies and into the net.
It was about the only Dons threat of the first half. Accies continued to hold their own and passed up a glorious chance to equalise three minutes later. Skondras dispossessed McLean in his own half, with Redmond putting him through on goal. But he was forced just a bit wide on his weaker foot, and Woodman dealt with the shot at the second attempt.
Aberdeen hadn’t opened us up, their threat being from set piece deliveries. Considine and Rooney headed just over in swift succession as a very even first half drew to a close.
Captain for the day Gary Woods hadn’t had really had a save to make but had to be quick to readjust to a swerving 40 yard Scott McKenna effort the 50th minute. The ball dipped just in front of goal and the Accies keeper was able to gather at the second attempt.
Patient Dons possession though was slowly turning the screw in the second half, with Accies doing a lot of defending. We struggled to make much creative impact at the other end as the pressure mounted going into the final 20 minutes.
With tired legs out there we tried to freshen things up, bringing Rojano on for the hard working Ogkmpoe. There hadn’t been much supply for the Accies new man, as Woodman enjoyed a quiet debut between the home sticks.
We looked to give it a go for the closing stages, but Aberdeen duly put the game beyond us on 78 minutes, as McGinn smashed home a low shot from inside the area, after rebound from Christie’s cross fell perfectly at his feet.
Considine then grabbed his second with four minutes left, heading a deflected Christie free kick past Woods at the far post, as the Dons now coasted to an emphatic victory.
Aberdeen: Woodman, Logan, O’Connor, McKenna, Considine, Shinnie (Ball 86), McLean, Christie, Mackay-Steven (Nwakali 63), McGinn, Rooney (Maynard 82); Subs Unused: Rogers, Arnason, Reynolds, Stewart
Goals: Considine 24, 86, McGinn, 78
Accies: Woods (c), Skondras (Hughes 83), McMann, Tomas, Redmond (Cunningham 59), Gogic, Lyon, Ferguson, Want, Sarris, Ogkmpoe (Rojano 68 ). Subs Unused: Fulton, Scott, Miller, Tierney
Cautions: Skondras, 90+1
Referee: Euan Anderson. Assistants: David McGeachie & Kylie Cockburn. 4th Official: Grant Irvine.
Attendance: 13531 (92 Accies)