Aberdeen began the Scottish Premiership season with a dominant win over Dundee United at Pittodrie.
After no wins or goals in four attempts against United last term, Stephen Glass’ side made amends against their north-east rivals.
Jonny Hayes nudged the hosts ahead after United failed to deal with a long ball, and Christian Ramirez headed in after fine play by Calvin Ramsay.
And they were rarely troubled defensively against a limp United.
It gives Aberdeen a confidence boost before Thursday’s Europa Conference League third qualifying round tie with Iceland’s Breidablik.
However, the defeat continues United’s opening-day woes, with the Tannadice side having failed to start the top-flight season with a win since 2014.
If there was a fixture that was due goals, it was this one. There had been just one in three league games last term, though United’s best performance of the campaign had come in a 3-0 Scottish Cup stroll at Pittodrie.
Thomas Courts’ side needed a similar performance in their curtain raiser. However, the early game plan was clear – frustrate the home side.
Aberdeen were dominating possession but struggling to find a way through the sea of white shirts. It took until the 27th minute for a shot on target for either side, but it was one that found the net.
Lewis Ferguson played a long ball into the path of Hayes, who had been given the freedom of Pittodrie. United goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist knocked him off his feet as he belatedly rushed out but the Dons winger had done enough to trundle the ball over the line.
Both sides had chances on the stroke of half-time. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas’ ball across goal almost picked out Hayes at the back post, then Liam Smith swung a ball in for Ian Harkes to bullet a diving header wide from six yards out.
The visitors were finally showing more of an attacking intent, but quickly into the second half Aberdeen extinguished the fight-back with the second goal.
Ramsay, a day after his 18th birthday, sold Mark Reynolds an outrageous dummy on the right and delivered a cross right on the money for Ramirez to head home.
Aberdeen went looking for more but were still finding it hard to get shots on target; Jack Mackenzie’s deflected shot from distance gave Siegrist little trouble.
United made changes to try and change the flow of the game. Harkes had a shot from distance easily saved and Logan Chalmers shot high and wide, but they rarely looked like mounting a comeback.
Man of the match – Calvin Ramsay
What did we learn?
Aberdeen had plenty of the ball and looked assured in possession, but it wasn’t chance after chance with a stuffy United in front of them. Regardless, they showed enough quality to more than earn the three points.
United began the game far too deep, and it took the opening goal for them to begin to show what they could do in the opposition half. On this evidence, it could be a long season ahead.
What did they say?
Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass: “It was a really good performance, first half in particular. The fans can see what the players are trying to do.
“We got a warning just before half-time and it served its purpose and we came out firing again. We were able to soak it up a little bit in the second half but I think that was down to the energy we expended on Thursday.”
Dundee United manager Thomas Courts: “We gave the ball away and we couldn’t get a rhythm, but when we did get that rhythm we created chances and should have scored before half-time.
“The positives are we should have scored one or two goals in the first half, in the second half we had Aberdeen hemmed in for the last 30 minutes. I would like to see a little more cutting edge and creativity.”
Aberdeen are in Iceland on Thursday in the first leg against Breidablik (20:00 BST), before travelling to Livingston on Sunday in the Scottish Premiership (15:00). United host Rangers on Saturday (12:30).
- 16OjoSubstituted forGurrat 89′minutes
- 19FergusonBooked at 59mins
- 17HayesSubstituted forMcLennanat 67′minutes
- 9RamírezSubstituted forMcGeouchat 74′minutes
- 12EdwardsBooked at 19mins
- 6ReynoldsSubstituted forFuchsat 58′minutes
- 18ButcherBooked at 37mins
- 10ClarkSubstituted forChalmersat 58′minutes
- 24ShanklandBooked at 58minsSubstituted forMochrieat 80′minutes
- Alan Muir
Match ends, Aberdeen 2, Dundee United 0.
Second Half ends, Aberdeen 2, Dundee United 0.
Foul by Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (Aberdeen).
Charlie Mulgrew (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Charlie Mulgrew.
Offside, Dundee United. Benjamin Siegrist tries a through ball, but Peter Pawlett is caught offside.
Foul by Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen).
Logan Chalmers (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Connor McLennan (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Calum Butcher (Dundee United).
Substitution, Aberdeen. Jack Gurr replaces Funso Ojo because of an injury.
Foul by Connor McLennan (Aberdeen).
Liam Smith (Dundee United) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt blocked. Ian Harkes (Dundee United) header from a difficult angle on the left is blocked. Assisted by Peter Pawlett with a cross.
Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Funso Ojo.
Attempt blocked. Charlie Mulgrew (Dundee United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Peter Pawlett.
Foul by Funso Ojo (Aberdeen).
Liam Smith (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Scott Brown (Aberdeen).
Jeando Fuchs (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.