WILSON WONDER GOAL AS DONS THUMP HAMILTON
PLUS: Mcinnes’ warning to players after Logan video
WITH a Betfred Cup final slot already in the bank Aberdeen’s focus is now on revitalising a stuttering Premiership campaign. If a shot in the arm was needed for league action, they don’t come much better than beating Rangers in a semi at Hampden. The importance of that landmark win on confidence, belief and momentum cannot be underestimated. Dons boss Derek Mcinnes will be hoping that securing a final slot against Celtic on December 2 can be the catalyst for an ascent back up the table. Languishing in the bottom six the Reds have so far struggled to recreate the consistency that secured runners-up spot for the last four seasons. A Halloween win closed the gap on top-six sides Hearts, Hibs, Rangers, Kilmarnock and Livingston who all dropped points. Now Aberdeen have four Premiership games before they bid to emulate the 2014 League Cup-winning success in the final. Ultimately the target will be to be firmly ensconced in the top six before that Hampden showdown. There was clearly a feelgood bounce from the semi win as the Reds played with freedom and creativity. It should have been a higher scoreline. At Hampden, the Reds’ attacking players had to dig deep and put in a tough shift defensively. This was an opportunity for those attacking stars who did so well defensively at the national stadium to show that flair up front. They grabbed it as Hamilton’s defence were ripped apart at will in what became a Halloween horror night for Hamilton. Aberdeen took just eight minutes to open the scoring with a move straight from the training ground. Winger Niall Mcginn rolled a corner kick from the left to Graeme SHINNIE who was lurking completely unmarked outside the penalty area. The club captain collected the pass then fired a low drive beyond keeper Gary Woods into the far corner. For the second game in succession a corner from Mcginn yielded a goal as he had set up Lewis Ferguson’s Hampden semi winner. The woodwork denied Accies quickly restoring parity moments later when Aaron Mcgowan’s angled shot beat keeper Joe Lewis only to crack off the post. A touch of class from on-loan Manchester United striker James WILSON doubled the Reds’ advantage in the 23rd minute. On loan for the season the Old Trafford star unleashed a stunning 25-yard dipping drive from the right flank that left keeper Woods with no chance. Wilson has played at the highest level with Manchester United and the execution of that goal underlined his undoubted quality. In the 40th minute it was nearly 3-0 when Scott Wright danced past a challenge before firing inches over from 18 yards. Early in the second half Wright burst past Mcgowan on the left but his 15-yard shot was saved by Woods. An inevitable third came on the hour mark with a 30-yard strike from centre-back Mikey DEVLIN against his former club. The defender picked up the ball on the right and unleashed a sweetly-hit shot that Woods got his hands to but couldn’t keep out. Moments later it was another defender, Shay Logan, who threatened from long range when he unleashed a superb 35-yard drive only to be denied a stunning goal by a diving save from Woods. In a rare attack from Hamilton Scott Mcmann hit the side netting but it was too little too late. It got even worse in injury-time for Accies when Dougie Imrie was sent off for a second yellow following a foul on Shinnie.