Aberdeen secured an important 2-0 win against Kilmarnock to continue their remarkable record in Ayrshire.
The Dons have not lost at Rugby Park in over nine years since a 2-0 defeat on December 3 2011 when Craig Brown was in charge.
A tedious first half passed without incident before Ryan Hedges’ deflected strike handed Aberdeen a 52nd-minute lead.
After Brandon Haunstrup was shown a red card for hauling back Sam Cosgrove in stoppage time, the Dons striker stepped up to fire an emphatic free-kick past Danny Rogers to seal all three points for the visitors.
Kilmarnock are now without a point in their last three games, have failed to score in six of their last seven league fixtures and look over-reliant on 37-year-old Chris Burke to provide creativity.
There were few real chances in the first half but Aberdeen spurned an early opening after just three minutes. Joe Lewis sent a free-kick straight down the middle of the park and Connor McLennan raced onto the ball but fired wide.
Kilmarnock almost broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time when Burke fired a dangerous ball across goal but, with Greg Kiltie lurking menacingly at the back post, Matty Kennedy had to be alert to divert the ball behind for a corner.
Aberdeen grabbed the opening goal in fortuitous fashion shortly afterwards. Hedges collected the ball and drove forward before unleashing a fierce shot that took a wicked deflection off Stuart Findlay and past the despairing dive of Rogers.
The Ayrshire side had a couple of tentative penalty shouts from consecutive corners before Curtis Main impressively cleared an Eamonn Brophy cross, that was drifting goalwards, off the line.
Cosgrove wasted a glorious opportunity to seal the three points for Aberdeen after 84 minutes. The second-half substitute was sent through by an exquisite touch by Hedges but the 24-year-old’s finish was weak and Rogers made a good save with his foot.
There was no lack of effort from Killie but they failed to truly test Lewis, with Brophy sending a typically ambitious strike just over the crossbar in the 88th minute.
Substitute Haunstrup only lasted five minutes before he hauled back Cosgrove as he raced clear on goal in the third minute of stoppage time.
It was Kilmarnock’s fifth red card of the season and Cosgrove inflicted further pain by slamming the subsequent free-kick past Rogers to add gloss to Aberdeen’s win.
Aberdeen now go to Motherwell on Wednesday at 6.15pm in the Scottish Premiership, while Kilmarnock are at Dundee United at 6.30pm, also on Wednesday.
Source : Sky Sports