Aberdeen surged level on points with second-placed Celtic in the Scottish Premiership with a surprisingly perfunctory victory over Hibernian.
A victory for Jack Ross’ visitors at Pittodrie would have elevated them into second-top spot, but their sloppiness led to an early goal from Scott Wright.
A horror clearance allowed Sam Cosgrove to make it two, with Joe Lewis in the opposite goal largely untroubled.
Hibs drop to fourth, with one win in their last four in all competitions.
Aberdeen were well worth this victory as both sides attempted to bounce back from Scottish Cup semi-final defeat last weekend, with Derek McInnes’ men now unbeaten in their last six league matches.
Next weekend marks a year since Ross took over at Easter Road, and this season his team have rightly earned plaudits as the Premiership’s surprise package.
That said, this was an out-of-sorts performance from the Easter Road side that never looked like recovering from a dreadful start.
The tone was set after just five minutes. Jamie Murphy – reintroduced to the starting line-up – surrendered possession on the edge of his own area, with Aberdeen recycling the ball.
A neat flick from Lewis Ferguson freed Wright, and his low drive across Ofir Marciano was inch perfect.
If that defending was a bit slack, it was bordering on kamikaze as the hosts made it two.
Ryan Porteous’ attempted clearance thumped off the back of Ferguson straight into the path of Cosgrove.
The big striker galloped forward with Hibs all at sea, and an outrageous finish from the outside of his boot sent his 44th Aberdeen goal high into the net.
Little comfort could be found in attack for Ross’ men. Lewis had to scramble to tip a sclaffed Ash Taylor clearance over the bar, while their biggest chance came in the form of a strong penalty shout in the second half with Martin Boyle bundled over by Matty Kennedy. Referee Euan Anderson didn’t agree.
Both sides shared a spattering of half chances – particularly Hibs during a late flurry – as the game trundled to a conclusion, but the damage was done early on for the home side.
Man of the match – Lewis Ferguson
What did we learn?
Aberdeen are enjoying one of their best starts to a top-flight campaign in two decades, and they look increasingly assured with each passing game.
There was no sign of a hangover from their Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Celtic last week, and with Cosgrove back in business, the Pittodrie side demonstrated a clinical edge.
The same could not be said for the visitors. Hibs were flat for much of this contest and offered very little threat up front from a team filled with attacking talent.
It’s been a great start to the campaign, but if that’s to continue, they’ll need few nights like this one.
What they said
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes: “I thought overall it was a really honest and hard-working performance. We went with an attacking line up and we were rewarded for it.
“Getting to 26 points at this point is our second-strongest start in 20 years, but it’s just a start. The encouraging signs are there.”
Hibernian head coach Jack Ross: “It was nowhere near good enough. We gave away too ridiculously soft goals. We huffed and puffed after that but didn’t do nearly enough to trouble Joe Lewis in goal.
“I praise the players a lot, but I’ll be hard on them tonight because we were poor. I was poor and my team were poor, but equally the referee was poor.”
High-flying Aberdeen have a two-week wait before a tasty trip to Ibrox to play Rangers on 22 November, while Hibs host Dundee next Sunday in the League Cup group stage.
- 18McLennanSubstituted forLoganat 85′minutes
- 33KennedySubstituted forLeighat 78′minutes
- 16CosgroveSubstituted forMainat 71′minutes
- 6McGinnBooked at 67mins
- 4HanlonBooked at 79mins
- 25DoigBooked at 62mins
- 11NewellSubstituted forMallanat 61′minutes
- 18MurphySubstituted forWrightat 68′minutes
- 15NisbetSubstituted forGullanat 77′minutes
Match ends, Aberdeen 2, Hibernian 0.
Second Half ends, Aberdeen 2, Hibernian 0.
Attempt blocked. Martin Boyle (Hibernian) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Alexander Gogic (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Curtis Main (Aberdeen).
Attempt saved. James Gullan (Hibernian) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Paul McGinn.
Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Ryan Hedges.
Hand ball by Ross McCrorie (Aberdeen).
Martin Boyle (Hibernian) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Ross McCrorie (Aberdeen).
Foul by Alexander Gogic (Hibernian).
Curtis Main (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Ryan Porteous (Hibernian) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Curtis Main (Aberdeen).
Drey Wright (Hibernian) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Shaleum Logan (Aberdeen).
Substitution, Aberdeen. Shaleum Logan replaces Connor McLennan because of an injury.
Attempt blocked. Scott Wright (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Paul Hanlon (Hibernian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Paul Hanlon (Hibernian).