Aberdeen climbed to second place in the Scottish Premiership with a superb win at home to Partick Thistle.

Niall McGinn's free-kick opened the scoring and the Dons' lead was doubled by Calvin Zola before the break.

Michael Hector's 20-yard drive made it three but Thistle's Kallum Higginbotham almost netted when his audacious effort from the halfway line hit the crossbar.

Aberdeen finished the night in style when McGinn volleyed Hector's perfect cross beyond Partick keeper Scott Fox.

Two blips in form

"Over the piece, Thistle have been excellent so far. But two games against Aberdeen, they just haven't shown that form."

BBC Radio Scotland pundit Billy Dodds

Having received his first ever Scotland call-up seven hours before this match, Fox would have been eager to show what he can do.

The 26-year-old's brilliant diving save at full stretch from a shot on the turn by Aberdeen striker Zola in the early stages of the game at Pittodrie served as a timely demonstration of his ability.

However, from there on in Fox was helpless as a combination of poor Thistle defending and clinical Aberdeen finishing had him picking the ball out of the net four times.

The result makes Derek McInnes's side Celtic's nearest challengers, four points short of Neil Lennon's men at the top of the league and Aberdeen, who were watched by more than 10,000 fans, have won four games in a row and not conceded a goal in that period.

Thistle manager Alan Archibald had spoken before the game about exploiting Aberdeen's few weaknesses.

He had witnessed, first-hand, how well the Dons rear-guard dealt with aerial balls in their 2-0 League Cup win at Motherwell and perhaps that was the reason for a low driven corner kick from which Gabriel Piccolo almost finished off at the back post.

Fox's clean-sheet hopes ended midway through the first-half, but the blame had to lie with his defensive wall at the free-kick conceded by Aaron Taylor-Sinclair.

For when McGinn neatly curled home into the near post from 22 yards, a ducking Stuart Bannigan meant the ball had a much clearer trajectory into the back of the net.

It was a welcome first goal in 12 games for the Northern Irishman, who played a key part in setting up his team's second before the break.

McGinn waited patiently for a surging run from Peter Pawlett, who upon reaching the by-line drilled the ball low across the goalmouth for Zola to extend a leg and tap in at the back post.

Partick Thistle keeper Scott Fox makes a spectacular save to deny Aberdeen from going in front.

Partick Thistle keeper Scott Fox made a spectacular save to deny Calvin Zola early on.

Pawlett's challenge on Kallum Higginbotham earned him a yellow card and stoked the visitors a little as they began the second half looking to take the game to Aberdeen.

That rejuvenation was momentarily quelled by Hector's arrowed shot which put the hosts three ahead in emphatic manner.

But Partick nearly responded immediately through a wonderful piece of opportunism when Higginbotham's spectacular strike straight from the kick-off bounced off Jamie Langfield's crossbar.

The Aberdeen goalkeeper was scrambling because of Higginbotham again minutes later when the Englishman's deflected strike nearly looped in.

McInnes's men ended the night how they began it, though.

Mexican defender Piccolo denied Hayes a simple tap-in before a slick passing move ended with Hector delivering a fine cross for McGinn to meet first time and convert brilliantly - his first goal from open play this season.

Lineup, Bookings (4) & Substitutions (6)

Aberdeen

  • 01 Langfield
  • 22 Jack
  • 05 Considine
  • 08 Flood
  • 27 Hector
  • 06 Reynolds
  • 16 Pawlett Booked (Anderson - 78' )
  • 14 Smith (Robson - 56' )
  • 10 McGinn
  • 07 Zola (Vernon - 64' )
  • 11 Hayes

Substitutes

  • 04 Anderson
  • 09 Vernon
  • 15 Robson
  • 17 Wylde
  • 18 Low
  • 20 Weaver
  • 25 Shankland

Partick Thistle

  • 01 Fox
  • 02 O'Donnell
  • 03 Taylor-Sinclair
  • 04 Welsh
  • 05 Muirhead
  • 13 Gabriel Booked
  • 08 Bannigan
  • 19 Osbourne
  • 09 Doolan (Elliott - 69' )
  • 07 Craigen (Forbes - 69' )
  • 23 Higginbotham Booked (Baird - 78' Booked )

Substitutes

  • 10 Forbes
  • 12 Gallacher
  • 14 Elliott
  • 16 McMillan
  • 17 Baird
  • 20 Kerr
  • 21 Mukendi
Ref: Brian Colvin
Att: 10,057

Match Stats

Shots

9 10

On target

6 4

Corners

4 6

Fouls

12 10

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Aberdeen 4, Partick Thistle 0.

90:00 +3:13 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Aberdeen 4, Partick Thistle 0.

90:00 +0:48

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Sean Welsh.

88:33 Booking

Booking John Baird (Partick Thistle) is shown the yellow card.

88:23

Dangerous play by John Baird (Partick Thistle).

88:23

Andrew Considine (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the right wing.

86:55

Sean Welsh (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

86:55

Foul by Barry Robson (Aberdeen).

86:05 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Aberdeen 4, Partick Thistle 0. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Michael Hector.

81:58

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Aaron Muirhead.

80:22

Attempt missed. Gabriel Rojo de la Vega (Partick Thistle) header from the right side of the six yard box is too high from a direct free kick.

79:49

Sean Welsh (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

79:49

Foul by Michael Hector (Aberdeen).

77:55 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Partick Thistle. John Baird replaces Kallum Higginbotham.

77:46 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Aberdeen. Russell Anderson replaces Peter Pawlett.

77:21 Booking

Booking Gabriel Rojo de la Vega (Partick Thistle) is shown the yellow card.

77:07

Dangerous play by Gabriel Rojo de la Vega (Partick Thistle).

77:07

Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.

76:29

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Isaac Osbourne.

76:06

Attempt saved. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

75:21

Foul by Sean Welsh (Partick Thistle).

75:21

Scott Vernon (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

73:27

Attempt missed. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

72:15

Corner, Partick Thistle. Conceded by Michael Hector.

69:26

Attempt missed. Ross Forbes (Partick Thistle) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

69:01

Corner, Partick Thistle. Conceded by Jamie Langfield.

68:43 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Partick Thistle. Christie Elliott replaces Kris Doolan.

68:37 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Partick Thistle. Ross Forbes replaces James Craigen.

68:07

Attempt saved. Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner.

67:18

Corner, Partick Thistle. Conceded by Willo Flood.

66:26

Attempt saved. Sean Welsh (Partick Thistle) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

65:59

Attempt saved. Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

64:44

Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle) hits the bar with a right footed shot from more than 35 yards.

63:52 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Aberdeen 3, Partick Thistle 0. Michael Hector (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner.

63:02 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Aberdeen. Scott Vernon replaces Calvin Zola-Makongo.

62:34

Foul by Aaron Muirhead (Partick Thistle).

62:34

Calvin Zola-Makongo (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

61:08

Attempt saved. Aaron Taylor-Sinclair (Partick Thistle) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

60:35

Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

60:35

Foul by Barry Robson (Aberdeen).

57:00

Barry Robson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

56:50

Foul by Stuart Bannigan (Partick Thistle).

55:16 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Aberdeen. Barry Robson replaces Cameron Smith.

54:52

Attempt missed. James Craigen (Partick Thistle) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

53:32

Corner, Partick Thistle. Conceded by Michael Hector.

51:09

Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

51:09

Foul by Michael Hector (Aberdeen).

49:47

Aaron Taylor-Sinclair (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

49:47

Foul by Willo Flood (Aberdeen).

46:39

Attempt missed. Sean Welsh (Partick Thistle) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

45:00

Second Half begins Aberdeen 2, Partick Thistle 0.

45:00 +1:44 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Aberdeen 2, Partick Thistle 0.

45:00 +1:22 Booking

Booking Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle) is shown the yellow card.

45:00 +1:18

Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle).

45:00 +1:18

(Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:00 +1:02 Booking

Booking Peter Pawlett (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card.

45:00 +1:00

(Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:00 +0:44

Peter Pawlett (Aberdeen).

45:00 +0:13

Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:00 +0:13

Foul by Ryan Jack (Aberdeen).

44:04

Foul by Aaron Taylor-Sinclair (Partick Thistle).

44:04

Cameron Smith (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

43:05

Gabriel Rojo de la Vega (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

43:05

Foul by Calvin Zola-Makongo (Aberdeen).

39:19 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Aberdeen 2, Partick Thistle 0. Calvin Zola-Makongo (Aberdeen) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Peter Pawlett.

38:31

Hand ball by Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle).

35:55

Kris Doolan (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

35:55

Foul by Andrew Considine (Aberdeen).

31:14

Gabriel Rojo de la Vega (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

31:14

Foul by Cameron Smith (Aberdeen).

26:00

Michael Hector (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

25:57

Foul by Kris Doolan (Partick Thistle).

24:50 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Aberdeen 1, Partick Thistle 0. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.

24:11

Foul by Isaac Osbourne (Partick Thistle).

24:11

Jonathan Hayes (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

22:52

Attempt missed. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

21:17

Attempt missed. Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

20:52

Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

20:52

Foul by Cameron Smith (Aberdeen).

18:37

Corner, Partick Thistle. Conceded by Calvin Zola-Makongo.

18:19

Corner, Partick Thistle. Conceded by Andrew Considine.

17:42

James Craigen (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

17:42

Foul by Peter Pawlett (Aberdeen).

17:12

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Scott Fox.

16:54

Attempt saved. Calvin Zola-Makongo (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

4:43

Attempt missed. Calvin Zola-Makongo (Aberdeen) header from the centre of the box is too high.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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