ABERDEEN boss Craig Brown hailed the performance of hat-trick hero Chris Maguire after the Dons eased into the fifth round of the Scottish Cup with a 6-0 victory over East Fife.
A Scott Vernon double and a late goal from substitute Josh Magennis completed the scoring but it was Maguire's contribution that most pleased the Dons boss. The 21-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and Brown admitted he is desperate to keep him at Pittodrie.
He said: "Chris has been exceptionally good recently. He has an eye for goal, good control and pace - every attribute you require for a striker so it doesn't surprise me to see him scoring goals."
He added: "He is out of contract at the end of the season and it is no surprise that clubs are taking an interest in Chris Maguire.
"We have asked Willie Miller (Aberdeen's executive director) to see if we can keep him, which is of course a financial issue, but I think if Chris is enjoying his football and the team is doing well he is more likely to stay.
"In all honesty though, I don't think we can compete with the Championship clubs in England financially so I can only hope that we can give him the best offer we can."
Brown admitted he thought the 6-0 rout flattered his side. He added: "We are very pleased to get such a good result at home and in view of the recent history of Aberdeen's reputation in cup competitions it was particularly gratifying to win the game.
"East Fife were very unfortunate because we took every chance we got and that doesn't often happen. Normally when you score four goals in a half you miss a number of other chances but I can't remember us missing more than another couple.
"It was a flattering half-time score but we were happy to take that.
"We are embarrassed that we scored as many goals as East Fife did not deserve to be on the receiving end of that, particularly in view of the good people that run the club and the decent guys who play for them."