Ross County 2 - 4 Aberdeen: Rooney and McLean with a brace each

Aberdeen's Adam Rooney celebrates as he makes it 3-0. Picture: SNS
Aberdeen's Adam Rooney celebrates as he makes it 3-0. Picture: SNS
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They may have a gleaming new stadium and training complex in the pipeline, but Aberdeen rarely seem more at home than when they step out in Dingwall.

Inflicting what long looked like a savage beating on Owen Coyle’s relegation-threatened side, the Dons made it five wins from the last seven trips to the Global Energy Stadium.

Two goals apiece from Adam Rooney and Kenny McLean, including three in a six-minute dirst half spree, did the damage.

It was a credit to County that they never threw in the towel, restoring pride with two late Alex Schalk goals in unlikely fashion.

But victory took the Dons back into second place in the table, three points above rivals Rangers.

County, after four straight defeats since returning from the winter break – and 13 without a win – remain six adrift at the bottom. Partick hold a game in hand and Hamilton two.

County’s new-look defence made a solid enough start, with on-loan pair Liam Fontaine and Stoke City’s Harry Souttar looking comfortable together.

It would all unravel horribly for the home defence, albeit with more than the defence culpable in the first half collapse.

Alarm bells sounded for County after 14 minutes as an Andrew Considine cross from the left spun into Niall McGinn’s path in the centre of the box, only for the Irishman to take an air-swipe.

The lull in play that followed was the calm before the storm.

On 28 minutes, the away breakthrough came. Souttar chose to leave a high ball hoisted into the penalty area rather than head clear.

Ryan Christie retrieved the ball on the left before it crossed for a goal-kick. Whipping it back in, Kenny MacLean’s thumping 20-yard shot deflected high off Fontaine’s boot.

Keeper Scott Fox adjusted, but his valiant dive came just too late to prevent the ball squirming over the line.

Four minutes later, the lead doubled. Christie’s burst into the penalty box was too quick for Tim Chow who tripped the Dons attacker and left referee Andrew Dallas with little choice but to point to the spot.

Adam Rooney sent Fox the wrong way with the 32nd minute penalty kick for his eighth goal of the season – and the ninth was only two minutes away.

This time it was McGinn who made space on the left and the pace on his cross was perfect for Rooney to stride in and smack a neat volley past Fox.

Coyle’s two half-time substitutions told a story, with the ineffective Chris Eagles and Inih Effiong hooked for Michael Gardyne and Ryan Dow.

A scrappy spell, broken by petty fouls, followed towards the hour mark. The Dons’ lull served as encouragement to Coyle’s team who slowly began to find a semblance of attacking threat.

Those tiny sparks of hope for County vanished after 65 minutes, though.

Scott Fox was guilty of a calamitous error against Rangers back in August when he dallied on the ball and was punished by Alfredo Morelos.

It was Groundhog Day for the County keeper as he miscontrolled a back-pass and was caught and punished by McLean for his second of the evening and Aberdeen’s fourth.

It was all done bar the shouting, but home substitute Alex Schalk flicked a neat finish over the head of Rogers for a County consolation after 77 minutes and then added a second six minutes later.