Match ends, Hamilton Academical 0, Aberdeen 3.
Hamilton 0-3 Aberdeen: Sam Cosgrove scores ninth in eight games
Sam Cosgrove took his tally to nine goals in eight games as Aberdeen beat Hamilton to move level with Rangers in the Scottish Premiership.
Derek McInnes' side stuttered to a Scottish Cup fourth-round draw with League One Stenhousemuir on Saturday, but were much improved in Lanarkshire.
Cosgrove scrambled in the opener and doubled his tally just after the break before Lewis Ferguson added a third.
Hamilton are a point above 11th, having lost three league games in a row.
Aberdeen recover from slow start
Aberdeen's fabulous end-of-2018 form had clearly deserted them at the weekend and they started slowly against Martin Canning's strugglers.
So much so, they could have fallen behind and were thankful when Matt Kilgallon's thumping header rattled the bar, perhaps with the aid of a Joe Lewis fingertip.
The visitors steadied themselves and started to exert their own authority. Max Lowe is a formidable specimen and when he began to use his pace and power to push Accies back, spaces began to open up.
It was from one such passage of play they opened the scoring, Lowe gave Aberdeen an overload on the left and when he found Stevie May, the forward had time to measure a cross for Cosgrove. He made something of a hash of his initial header but had the presence of mind to force the ball past Ryan Fulton when the ball ricocheted off Kilgallon.
The game was won and lost, though, in a pivotal 60 seconds after the break.
Accies claimed for a penalty as Aaron McGowan tumbled under pressure from Gary Mackay-Steven. Referee Greg Aitken was unmoved as Aberdeen swept forward and Cosgrove - still with plenty of work to do - powered in on goal from the left to sidefoot a sweet shot into the bottom corner of Fulton's net. Hamilton manager Canning protested furiously on the touchline, to no avail.
And he had further cause for dismay shortly afterwards as Cosgrove rose to meet a May corner. It looked like his effort was stopped short of crossing the goal-line but Ferguson - back on his old stomping ground - forced it over.
A first win in Hamilton in almost four years and ultimately a very comfortable one for Aberdeen.
No respite for Hamilton - analysis
This was an eighth game without a win for Accies - seven in the league - and discontent is not hard to find down Hamilton way.
Canning has come through similarly fallow periods before and he will hope the board retain a greater sense of perspective and patience than some of the more vocal and critical supporters. It never rains but it pours, though. On Saturday they go to Celtic Park to take on the league leaders.
Aberdeen have shaken off that winter-break fuzz and with Cosgrove simply bursting with confidence, must surely feel they can continue to put pressure on the teams above them.
Going forward, they are slick and powerful. Defensively, quick and strong. An impressive combination.
'We got the job done' - reaction
Hamilton manager Martin Canning: "We hit the bar early in the game and the way things are going for us just now we're not able to get that first goal.
"Second half, it could've been a penalty. It's not a penalty and the next minute the ball's in our goal again. We seem to gift teams opportunities and we've got to do better than we did tonight."
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes: "Very professional performance, some good individual performances. Clean sheet and three goals, we would've taken that before the game.
"The performance was more what I would expect from the team. I've got to be happy with the night's work. Tonight was pleasing to get the job done."
- 2McGowanBooked at 16mins
- 4GordonBooked at 28mins
- 12TaiwoSubstituted forMartinat 81'minutesBooked at 82mins
- 11MillerSubstituted forBoydat 41'minutes
- 8DaviesSubstituted forKeatingsat 61'minutes
- 2LoganBooked at 51mins
- 19FergusonBooked at 78minsSubstituted forBallat 87'minutes
- 17MaySubstituted forGleesonat 81'minutes
- 16CosgroveSubstituted forWrightat 72'minutes
- Greg Aitken
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Hamilton Academical 0, Aberdeen 3.
Foul by Alexander Gogic (Hamilton Academical).
Scott Wright (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Corner, Hamilton Academical. Conceded by Stephen Gleeson.
Corner, Hamilton Academical. Conceded by Gary Mackay-Steven.
Foul by Stephen Gleeson (Aberdeen).
Scott McMann (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Aberdeen. Dominic Ball replaces Lewis Ferguson.
Gary Mackay-Steven (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Scott McMann (Hamilton Academical).
Scott Martin (Hamilton Academical) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Scott Martin (Hamilton Academical).
Stephen Gleeson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Scott Martin replaces Thomas Taiwo.
Substitution, Aberdeen. Stephen Gleeson replaces Stevie May.
Foul by Dougie Imrie (Hamilton Academical).
Greg Stewart (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ziggy Gordon (Hamilton Academical).
Greg Stewart (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Tony Andreu (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen).
Attempt missed. Scott Wright (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right.
Foul by Thomas Taiwo (Hamilton Academical).
Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen) right footed shot from more than 35 yards misses to the left.
Substitution, Aberdeen. Scott Wright replaces Sam Cosgrove.
Attempt missed. Scott McKenna (Aberdeen) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner.
Foul by James Keatings (Hamilton Academical).
Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Steven Boyd (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Max Lowe (Aberdeen).
Scott McMann (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Shaleum Logan (Aberdeen).
James Keatings (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Greg Stewart (Aberdeen).
Steven Boyd (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Max Lowe (Aberdeen).
Foul by Steven Boyd (Hamilton Academical).