There was no happy return to Pittodrie for former Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes as his Kilmarnock side were soundly beaten 4-1 by his former charges in the Scottish Premiership.
Vicente Besuijen opened the scoring for the home side before Bojan Miovski netted twice, the first a penalty kick, either side of Ash Taylor’s header that put the visitors on the board. Anthony Stewart headed home a fourth just after the hour
With defender Liam Scales suspended after his fiercely-debated red card against Hibs, Aberdeen shuffled the pack with four attacking midfielders on display, while Killie showed four changes from the side beaten by Livingston before the international break.
The sides edged their way into the game and a neat Kilmarnock move on the quarter-hour deserved to come to something, but Aberdeen were able to clear and, on the break, won a free-kick that led to the first clear-cut chance.
Jonny Hayes’ free-kick was punched away by Zach Hemming, but fell to Hayden Coulson who was not far away from opening the scoring.
The deadlock was broken midway through the first half when Matty Kennedy played in Hayes down the left. The Irishman crossed low, and though Taylor got a touch, the ball fell kindly to Besuijen who drilled a low effort home from eight yards.
The second quickly followed in the 24th minute as Miovski was hauled down by Hemming, and from the resultant penalty, the North Macedonian striker fired the ball into the bottom-left corner as the ‘keeper went the other way.
Any thoughts Aberdeen had the game won were quickly extinguished as Taylor pulled a goal back (27). The former Dons centre-half sent a long throw into the area which was cleared for a corner, and then made his own way into the box to head home Liam Polworth’s delivery from the right.
The home side re-established their two-goal lead on the stroke of half-time as Coulson drove into the area before his low cutback squirmed its way to Miovski who fired home at the near post, his eighth goal of the campaign.
Captain Stewart rose at the near post to head home a Hayes corner just after the hour mark to effectively seal the points for Aberdeen.
And it could have been more for the home side who saw Jayden Richardson slice wide from a good position, while substitute Ryan Duncan charged down a late defensive clearance but the ball bounced wide of the goal.
What the managers said…
Aberdeen boss Jim Goodwin:
“There were elements of it in the first half that were frustrating. We looked a decent team and if we can just scrub up on one or two key areas we can become a very good team.
“At the moment we’re still a relatively new group, and there are things we need to get better at.
“Four-one makes it look extremely comfortable but that wasn’t the case in the first half. We left ourselves open to the counter-attack too many times.
“All in all it’s a very pleasing, convincing performance against a team who are very well organised. We were patient and created plenty of opportunities.”
Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes:
“It’s fine margins. I was pleased to a point, but we discussed with the players over the course of the week that Aberdeen are really strong on the counter and Jim has brought a lot of speed to the team.
“I was disappointed with the manner of the first goal because we allowed ourselves to become too stretched. The second goal wasn’t good enough – losing a goal so quickly just drains the life from you.
“We had some better moments and get a goal back but we should have gone in at half-time 2-1 down with a chance to get ourselves back into the game. We never gave ourselves a chance. The third goal was an awful goal to lose.
“We have to look at ourselves and be disappointed with the level of the goals we lose.”