Ahead of tonight’s fixtures, the summit lies just a point away for Aberdeen, who made it three wins on the trot. As for successive wins over their favourite opponents Dundee, it’s now 11. Even Aberdeen’s strikers are scoring. Or at least one of them is. Sam Cosgrove’s first-half double took his recent spree to four in three games. He’s been as crucial as anyone in this mid-season flourish and will be frustrated at failing to notch a hat-trick last night – as will Andrew Considine.
With Cosgrove and Considine on a double each, whenever Aberdeen won a corner or a free-kick around the Dundee box excitement rippled around Pittodrie in the hope one or the other would seal their hat-trick. Considine, of course, has already struck three times against Dundee – in a 7-0 mauling at Dens Park two seasons ago.
Cosgrove was replaced after 78 minutes and heard his name sung around Pittodrie as he left the pitch. Aberdeen’s need for a striker to allow them to put pressure on their title rivals might not be quite as desperate as it once seemed.
A meek Dundee side reacquaint themselves with bottom spot on goal difference. St Mirren, despite not playing, enjoyed a productive night. Dundee managed to get on the scoresheet in the second half but inferior goal difference still plants them at the bottom.
In the view of the historians, the wrong Miller scored for the Dens Park side. Calvin rather than Kenny, who was seeking to become the club’s oldest scorer five days before he turns 39, rifled home after 68 minutes. But it was all very much academic by then. Aberdeen struck their fifth four minutes afterwards through another Considine header.
Aberdeen have taken full advantage of their games in hand to make up ground. Last night’s performance was certainly minus the struggles endured when seeing off Livingston and St Mirren in their previous two outings by just one goal.
Derek McInnes’ side were 4-0 up ten minutes into the second half. He had the luxury to make changes with Saturday’s match against Hearts in mind. Dominic Ball replaced Stevie May on the hour. A win on Saturday will see them stretch their lead to six points over the Tynecastle side, whose fortunes have dipped while Aberdeen’s have lifted.
If only all opponents were as compliant as Dundee are these days, Aberdeen would be European champions in no time. It was one-way traffic throughout, though there was an element of misfortune in the way they went behind after 15 minutes. Genseric Kusgunga, the visitors’ commanding centre-half, lay injured in the Aberdeen box following a corner. Aberdeen broke and took full advantage of the shortage of defenders – though only at the second attempt. Dundee cleared Graeme Shinnie’s initial cross but Connor McLennan’s follow-up cross was bulleted into the net by Cosgrove.
Dundee had a chance to equalise just after the half-hour mark when Jesse Curran’s cross from the right flashed across the goalmouth. Calvin Miller couldn’t get the touch that would surely have diverted the ball into the net.
Dundee’s hope was to reach half-time just a goal behind. They failed by a matter of two minutes – O’Dea’s clearing header was knocked back in towards Cosgrove, who shot through Jack Hamilton’s legs.
The second half threatened to get very messy indeed for the visitors when Considine put Aberdeen three ahead five minutes after the break, heading in Niall McGinn’s corner. Five minutes later it was 4-0 as McLennan made a brilliant connection to McGinn’s deep cross to fire into the corner from 14 yards.
The surprise of the evening was Dundee scoring. It was, perhaps, the finish of the night. Calvin Miller turned and smacked home a fine goal from the edge of the box after 68 minutes on what was a rare foray forward for the visitors.
Aberdeen’s response was to score again just four minutes later, Considine heading in the rebound after Hamilton stopped a point-blank header from Scott McKenna.