Aberdeen 2-0 Dundee

By Scott DavieBBC Scotland

Goals from Niall McGinn and Jonny Hayes made it 10 Scottish Premier League matches without defeat for an Aberdeen side now only two points behind Celtic.

Former Hoops winger McGinn is proving crucial to that ambition as he made it five goals in the last five games to break the deadlock.

That clinical, 13th-minute drive and Hayes' 74th-minute trundler secured a deserved win for the Dons.

And it leaves Dundee further isolated at the foot of the table.

Hayes is congratulated by Isaac Osbourne after scoring at Pittodrie
Hayes is congratulated by Isaac Osbourne after scoring at Pittodrie

The only surprise was that Aberdeen didn't win more comfortably against a team that will need something of a minor miracle to survive in the top flight.

In fact, it looked bleak for Dundee before a ball was even kicked, with their best player, Mark Kerr, picking up a serious knee injury last week.

Manager Barry Smith took drastic action to try to stop leaking goals, pairing youngsters Kyle Benedictus and Declan Gallagher in central defence, while former Hamilton full-back Brian Easton made it three changes at the back.

However, poor Easton only lasted three minutes before slumping to the deck in agony with a hamstring pull that could keep him out for at least a month.

Matt Lockwood came on to try to take care of Ryan Fraser, but it was a tough ask as the teenager was his usual bag of tricks down both flanks.

League leaders Celtic are the only team to have beaten the Dons this season and Craig Brown's side looked like they could have given the champions a run for their money.

The only surprise was that the opener was delayed until 14 minutes as Chris Clark and Fraser both went close with early efforts.

Of course, when it did arrive, Fraser played a key role, intercepting a poor kick-out from Rab Douglas, racing clear then sweeping over an inviting cross from the right.

Scott Vernon dummied the ball and McGinn swooped to send a controlled shot with his instep soaring into the roof of the net.

Amazingly, the Dons were looking for their first home league win against Dundee in 19 games and 15 attempts dating back to October 1993, when Duncan Shearer got the winner.

That made it all the more appropriate that McGinn should become the first Aberdeen player since Shearer to score in five in successive matches.

Aberdeen dominated possession, but it took a freak second goal from substitute Hayes in 72 minutes to make sure of the win.

He curled in a free-kick from wide right that should have been cleared comfortably, but Dundee dithered and were lost.

Jim McAlister tried to clear but only succeeded in deflecting the ball through the legs of Douglas into the net.

McAlister's misery was compounded when the midfielder had what looked like a good consolation goal disallowed at the other end for offside.

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