Bojan Miovski’s double, a screamer from debutant Leighton Clarkson, and a dinked Luis Lopes finish gave Aberdeen their first Scottish Premiership win of the season as they eased to victory over 10-man St Mirren at Pittodrie.
Former Aberdeen defender Declan Gallagher’s return to the north east was short-lived as he was sent off midway through the first half.
His second yellow came for a deliberate handball in the box, with Miovski tucking in the penalty before a poacher’s finish doubled his tally.
The pick of the bunch was from Clarkson, a first-half substitute, who struck an arrowed effort into the top corner just before the break.
St Mirren got one back when Jonah Ayunga scored from the spot, but Lopes sealed the win with a cute lob as Aberdeen broke up the pitch.
Both sides looked very different from the teams that produced a goalless draw in the final game of last season. Only three Aberdeen players from that day started here, with Jim Goodwin having added 11 new signings to the squad.
He only signed Liverpool loanee Clarkson on the morning of the game, but the midfielder was thrown on for his debut after just 12 minutes when Gallagher scythed down Hayden Coulson, forcing the left-back off injured.
Gallagher’s afternoon was soon cut short when Liam Scales blasted a rebound into the St Mirren defender’s arm in the box. Gallagher saw red, and Aberdeen’s new number nine Miovski rifled home the penalty.
If the first goal was harsh to concede, the second was sloppy in the extreme. Jonny Hayes’ low cross was deflected and Trevor Carson waited for the ball to come to him on his line. Miovski showed predatory instincts to nip in front of the goalkeeper and slide the ball into the net.
Clarkson had made a good impact already and would extend Aberdeen’s lead when he laced the ball into the top corner with a first-time strike from 20 yards.
St Mirren had a mountain to climb in the second half, but the journey looked easier when Alan Muir pointed to the spot when Hayes was harshly judged to have nudged Greg Kiltie. Kelle Roos could have done better, getting a strong arm to Ayunga’s penalty, but the ball looped into the net.
Lopes added the icing to the cake with his last-minute strike. St Mirren’s line were pressed high and Christian Ramirez was able to play Lopez clean through to dink over Carson and give Goodwin his biggest league win as Aberdeen manager.
Clarkson lights up the Dons’ performance
Aberdeen started poorly, sloppy in possession and allowing St Mirren into dangerous areas. However, they bounced back quickly and took advantage of the opportunities St Mirren afforded them.
The loss of Coulson was a setback, but the introduction of Clarkson ended up as a masterstroke.
It allowed Scales to slot into left-back, and Clarkson the opportunity to control a midfield that was giving him time and space.
It was an impressive debut from the Liverpool loanee – who Aberdeen fans will be hoping can emulate James Maddison rather than Matty Longstaff.
When he wasn’t dictating the tempo he was determined to strike from distance.
It was a worrying display from St Mirren. Stephen Robinson has publicly stated that he wants to play a counter-attacking brand of football. Today, they didn’t get out the starting blocks.
Aberdeen host managerless Motherwell next Saturday, with St Mirren welcoming Ross County to Paisley (both 15:00 BST).
- 22CoulsonSubstituted forClarksonat 12′minutes
- 2McCrorieBooked at 61mins
- 33KennedySubstituted forRobertsat 63′minutesSubstituted forat 81′minutes
- 17HayesSubstituted forde Barros Lopesat 72′minutes
- 9MiovskiSubstituted forRamírezat 72′minutes
- 11de Barros Lopes
- 31GallagherBooked at 23mins
- 23StrainSubstituted forTaylorat 90+1′minutes
- 17BacchusSubstituted forGreiveat 78′minutes
- 11KiltieBooked at 85mins
- 7AyungBooked at 48minsSubstituted forBrophyat 78′minutes
- 10MainSubstituted forFlynnat 45′minutes
- Alan Muir
Match ends, Aberdeen 4, St. Mirren 1.
Second Half ends, Aberdeen 4, St. Mirren 1.
Anthony Stewart (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Alex Greive (St. Mirren).
Foul by Ylber Ramadani (Aberdeen).
Greg Kiltie (St. Mirren) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Charles Dunne (St. Mirren) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, St. Mirren. Fraser Taylor replaces Ryan Strain.
Offside, St. Mirren. Richard Tait tries a through ball, but Eamonn Brophy is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Liam Scales (Aberdeen) header from the center of the box is saved in the center of the goal. Assisted by Vicente Besuijen with a cross.
Goal! Aberdeen 4, St. Mirren 1. Duk (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the center of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Christian Ramírez with a through ball.
Greg Kiltie (St. Mirren) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Jayden Richardson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Greg Kiltie (St. Mirren).
Attempt missed. Eamonn Brophy (St. Mirren) right footed shot from the center of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Joe Shaughnessy.
Attempt missed. Joe Shaughnessy (St. Mirren) header from the center of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Ryan Strain with a cross following a corner.
Corner, St. Mirren. Conceded by Ylber Ramadani.
Foul by Ylber Ramadani (Aberdeen).
Ethan Erhahon (St. Mirren) wins a free kick on the left wing.