McGinn treble downs Dundee
Niall McGinn bagged a hat-trick as Aberdeen returned to winning ways with a 3-1 victory at Dundee in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.
McGinn produced the goods with an outstanding second-half showing against rock-bottom Dundee, who remain nine points adrift at the foot of the table in their fight to avoid relegation back to the Irn-Bru First Division.
Northern Ireland ace McGinn broke the deadlock a minute after the restart and put the rampant Reds further ahead in the 68th minute with a free header.
Dundee substitute Mark Stewart hit a consolation strike with eight minutes left but McGinn dashed any hopes of a comeback and completed his treble in the 88th minute.
The hosts made just one change from the side which lost 2-0 to champions Celtic in their televised Boxing Day showdown.
Fit-again winger Nicky Riley came back into the starting line-up to hand the hosts a timely boost as he replaced Ryan Conroy, while midfielder Iain Davidson was on the bench following his return from a one-match suspension.
Pittodrie boss Craig Brown made changes after seeing his side crash to a 4-1 defeat away to Motherwell on Wednesday.
Russell Anderson dropped to the bench along with Rory Fallon and Joshua Magennis so Andrew Considine came in, along with young pair Jamie Masson and Cameron Smith, in a bid to bounce back from their Fir Park mauling at the first attempt.
But it was Dundee who came out with all guns blazing with the first real chance falling their way inside 60 seconds.
Matt Lockwood's cross wasn't properly cleared by the Dons defence and Kevin McBride latched onto the loose ball only to see his left-foot snap-shot from 12-yards just clear Jamie Langfield's far post.
It was the kind of start which gave them hope but they had to be on their toes at the other end.
Johnny Hayes found some space wide on the right to whip over one of his trademark crosses in search of striker Scott Vernon.
But just as Vernon was about to launch himself at it inside the penalty area, Dundee defender Kyle Benedictus reacted quickest to nod away the danger at the expense of a corner.
Then, midway through the first-half, Aberdeen's Joseph Shaughnessy crossed for Vernon but this time he fired over the bar from 10 yards.
At the other end, Dundee broke as skipper Stephen O'Donnell set up Lockwood, whose deep cross was headed over the bar by an unmarked Colin Nish at the far post.
Aberdeen got the second half off to a whirlwind start by taking the lead in the 46th minute.
McGinn slid in to break the deadlock with a close-range tap-in from Smith's cross which eluded the Dundee defence.
The visitors now had a spring in their step as Hayes broke clear down the right shortly after and his pin-point cross was turned just wide by Vernon.
But in-form McGinn made it 2-0 after 68 minutes.
Again Hayes caused havoc with a whipped cross for McGinn, who was all alone to nod past the helpless Douglas and seal the three points.
Stewart pulled a goal back in the 82nd minute with a low drive after Colin Nish had flicked on Gary Irvine's long throw-in.
But McGinn made the game safe when he knocked home the rebound after Douglas had parried Hayes' shot.