NIALL McGinn’s excellent 17th goal of the season was enough to guide Aberdeen to victory over Clydesdale Bank Premier League basement boys Dundee.
The home side made heavy work of their win on a Pittodrie pitch showing the scars of a hard winter, and they even had to play for the last 15 minutes with only ten men, Isaac Osbourne going off injured after manager Craig Brown had made his third substitution.
Right from the off, Aberdeen were determined to attack a young and inexperienced Dundee central defence. As early as the third minute, a Johnny Hayes cross found Scott Vernon at the back post, and although his close-range strike seemed to come off the arm of Gary Irvine, referee Brian Colvin was unmoved by the appeals for a penalty.
Ten minutes later, Dundee went close through Brian Easton, whose low shot was pushed away by Jamie Langfield. But after 18 minutes, Aberdeen took the lead. McGinn picked up the ball on the halfway line and shuffled past two men before unleashing a low, 20-yard drive which bounced just in front of Rab Douglas, and nestled in the back of the net.
A minute before the interval, the visitors were within inches of an equaliser. Gary Harkins played in Jim McAlister, and the former Morton man cannoned a shot past Langfield, off the underside of the crossbar and back out.
The Dees started the second half brightly but they were, though, missing the focal point of Colin Nish – who had been dropped to the bench – from the attack, and that was especially evident at set-pieces. Once again, this one came to nothing.
The Dons switched Rob Milsom for Peter Pawlett with 25 minutes left, and five minutes later they had a brief glimpse of goal as McGinn flicked a shot across the face of goal with the outside of his right foot.
The third and final change for the home side saw Josh Magennis replace Joe Shaughnessy and they cruelly lost Osbourne to injury just a minute later.
Dundee quickly brought on Nish for Ryan Conroy in a bid to make the most of their man advantage, but it was not to be for Barry Smith’s men.