Deadly Dons dismantle Caley

Aberdeen maintained their unbeaten record at the Caledonian Stadium with a comfortable 3-0 SPL win over lacklustre Inverness on Saturday.

Last Updated: 20/12/08 at 18:03 Post Comment

Mulgrew: Opened the scoring for Aberdeen

Mulgrew: Opened the scoring for Aberdeen

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Caley Thistle, who have now won only one of their 10 home matches this season and have lost their last four SPL games, were a goal down after six minutes when Charlie Mulgrew curled in an exquisite free-kick from 30 yards.

Gary McDonald latched onto a careless clearance from Dougie Imrie to drill home a second before Darren Mackie chipped Ryan Esson to wrap up all three points for the Dons.

Sone Aluko returned for Aberdeen at the expense of Chris Maguire in manager Jimmy Calderwood's only change from the side that beat Falkirk last weekend.

Ross Tokely returned from suspension for Inverness, with Phil McGuire dropping to the bench. Garry Wood was chosen to lead the line for the home side, with Roy McBain also starting.

The game commenced after a well-observed minute silence for Inverness life president John 'Jock' McDonald, who died earlier in the week at the age of 77.

Aberdeen could have taken the lead in the opening minute when Mackie latched onto a slack David Proctor backpass and fed Lee Miller, who blasted wide of the target.

Inverness created an early opportunity of their own following good work by Tokely but Don Cowie failed to squeeze the ball past the Aberdeen rearguard.

However, it was the visitors who opened the scoring in wonderful fashion after six minutes.

Mulgrew enhanced his growing reputation as a dead-ball specialist by curling a free-kick into the top-left corner past Esson after Proctor had fouled Mackie.

Inverness almost equalised soon after when Imrie outjumped Mulgrew at the back post but the attacking midfielder could not divert his header goalwards.

Aberdeen began to dominate proceedings, with the lively Jeffrey de Visscher testing Esson from the edge of the box before the former Aberdeen keeper managed to punch a Mulgrew corner away to safety in a crowded penalty area.

Inverness came back into the game as the half wore on but Ian Black's powerful effort from 25 yards was gathered comfortably by Jamie Langfield.

The home side had a shout for penalty turned down with three minutes of the half remaining after McBain claimed his drive had struck Zander Diamond's hand but referee Calum Murray waved away the protests.

There was still time for Cowie to head over the bar from a McBain cross before Murray blew for half-time.

Richard Foster came on for Aberdeen at the break in place of De Visscher.

Former Don Russell Duncan then picked up the first caution of the day for a trip on Aluko.

Miller could have scored a second for Aberdeen but Esson denied the striker with a fantastic reflex save.

But the Dons did double their lead with only six minutes of the second half gone.

Imrie's loose header was pounced upon by McDonald, who drilled the ball past Esson from the edge of the box to net his fourth goal of the season.

Calderwood's side were in top gear and added a third when Mackie outmuscled Richard Hastings before chipping the ball over the advancing Esson to the delight of the vocal travelling support.

Craig Brewster brought on Adam Rooney for Duncan as Inverness tried to get something from the game.

Tokely should have done better when he rose to meet Cowie's corner after 66 minutes but the combative defender could not direct his header on target.

Black was unlucky to see his clever chip come back off the bar and the Highlanders' frustration continued when they were denied a penalty after Mark Kerr looked to have handled Wood's volley.

The home side were fuming with the decision and Hastings was booked for his protests.

Tokely then joined his team-mate in the referee's notebook for a dangerous challenge on the tiring Aluko, who was replaced by Maguire moments later.

Calderwood gave young Michael Paton a taste of first-team action when he replaced Miller with only a couple of minutes remaining.

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