Goals from Jonny Hayes, Shay Logan, Niall McGinn and substitute Jayden Stockley secured a fifth successive Aberdeen victory that was far from flattering on a day when they could easily have doubled that advantage against a Ross County side reduced to ten men for over an hour.
Tim Chow was sent off just 22 minutes into his first starting appearance for the Dingwall club and the result was never in doubt after that, and rarely so before then to be honest.
They were simply irresistible as an attacking force at times and even though they were outscored by their Betfred Cup semi-final opponents Morton yesterday, they will be overwhelming favourites at Hampden Park on Saturday.
Of course McInnes started his playing career with the Greenock club and the Aberdeen manager was pleased to see his former side win so comfortably as well, but for purely selfish reasons on this occasion.
“That was a fantastic result for them away to Queen of the South and it let us see them at their best which is good for me and our players to study on tape before we play them,” he said.
“It’s not been easy for us to win five on the spin but the players have been excellent since that first one against Dundee. Playing against ten men is tough at times but the boys kept going, played some great football and made a lot of chances.”
It was Ross County who scored four goals on their last visit to Pittodrie on the final day of last season but the prospects of repeating that were as gloomy as the stormy weather the players had to contend with yesterday. After all, they have managed just seven in the league all season now and Liam Boyce, the striker who contributed all bar one of those, remains sidelined for another month after damaging a medial ligament last time out.
That made it all the more galling for the visitors when Craig Curran squandered an early chance to score when he really should have punished a moment of slackness by Kenny McLean.
What happened next seemed inevitable as Marcus Fraser was booked for a rash challenge on Hayes and within a few minutes the Irishman showed how to fully exploit such a situation.
Fraser’s understandable caution in the aftermath saw him give Hayes too much room in the penalty area and the winger flashed an unstoppable acute angled drive into the far corner of the net after 20 minutes.
Two minutes later and an already difficult situation got even worse when Chow was given a straight red card for a two footed tackle on Hayes and his manager Jim McIntyre admitted; “It made it a mountain to climb when you lose a player early.
“Tim has to learn from that as it was a sending off. He went in with two feet and he didn’t have to do that as he could have gone in from the side and that makes things tough against a really good side.”
The only surprise was that Aberdeen only added one more before the interval as Hayes was virtually unplayable, James Maddison full of tricks, McGinn a constant menace and Adam Rooney continually drifting in to dangerous positions.
It was the unlikely figure of right back Logan who provided the second strike in 32 minutes although complacency saw Michael Gardyne go close to scoring twice for the visitors.
McGinn’s fifth of the season and Stockley’s third completed the scoring in the second half leaving McInnes with just one worry as he revealed: “The only downside is the injury that Ash Taylor suffered early on. Hopefully it’s not too bad but it looks like he could be out for a few weeks.”