The last time Kilmarnock managed to beat Aberdeen (a 2-0 victory at Rugby Park on 3 December, 2011), Josh Magennis was playing for the Dons.
However, Derek McInnes’ side moved to within a point of league leaders Celtic with this, their ninth successive win over the Ayrshire club, prompting an extraordinary rant from the Northern Ireland striker, who claimed some of the home players who capitulated on Saturday should be handed their P45s.
More to the point, though, Aberdeen can now return to the top of the Premiership pile for the first time since 17 October by beating Inverness at Pittodrie on Boxing Day.
Celtic’s shock defeat by Motherwell has paved the way for the Dons, who have taken 16 points from their last six games, to remind Ronny Deila they are credible contenders for the title.
Aberdeen won their opening eight league games for the first time in their history but lost momentum and, it seemed, the right to be considered as potential champions with a run of five defeats and a draw in September and October. Fortunately for them, they have rediscovered their mojo just as Deila has misplaced his.
“The start of the season was great and then we hit that blip but we feel we are playing well now, scoring goals and playing with confidence,” said winger Niall McGinn, whose header from Kenny McLean’s cross began the rout. “We have got two home games coming up so we will want to take six points from them. We will keep working hard behind the scenes.
“I thought the boys were excellent against Kilmarnock from the first minute to the last. It probably could have been five or six but to score four goals and keep a clean sheet is a great day at the office. We knew that if we got our good players on the ball we would create chances and thankfully that was the case and, when they came along, we managed to take them.”
Indeed they did. Adam Rooney headed home from McGinn’s inviting delivery, the irrepressible Jonny Hayes tapped in McLean’s low cross and full-back Shay Logan drove Peter Pawlett’s back-heeled pass beyond Jamie MacDonald. And that wasn’t the half of it.
“We’ve definitely turned the corner,” said McGinn. “But we can’t get carried away with things. We need to keep building every week with every performance.”
As do Kilmarnock, for markedly different reasons. They have taken only two points – one of them, bizarrely, at Parkhead –from a possible 21 and are sinking like a stone. The fans want manager Gary Locke to go but Magennis believes it is the players who should be sacked.
“The players have to take full responsibility,” said the 25-year-old. “I heard people giving the gaffer abuse but it shouldn’t be directed at him: we have to step up as players. Our performances this season haven’t been good enough. We take ten steps forward and a million steps back. The last two weeks have been dreadful. Against Inverness, the first half was an absolute disgrace. And we carried it into this week.
“When you are playing a team pushing for the league, you can’t afford anything but your best. The gaffer can take times when you are not playing well as a team. But he cannot accept people not trying. There were far too many players today – including myself to a degree – that were not trying. And we got fully punished for it.”
At one stage during the second half Magennis was heard yelling: “Don’t f****** give up!’ at his Killie colleagues and he was just as angry once the dust had settled. “You’re kidding yourself on as a professional if you think you can chuck the game 60 minutes in: your contract should be terminated,” he said.
“I don’t know where to start. It was just a shambles of a performance – again. I thought we had taken strides forward to eradicate those type of performances after the draw at Celtic. But when you let quality players play, they punish you. That was seen today. There were individual mistakes.”