Aberdeen leapfrogged Hamilton into fourth place in the Scottish Premiership with a convincing 3-0 victory over the Lanarkshire team at Pittodrie. Ash Taylor's header gave the Dons a first-half lead and the contest was over shortly after the interval thanks to a delightful Niall McGinn strike and Adam Rooney's penalty. Accies, who won the reverse fixture 3-0 in October, faded badly in the second period and their misery was compounded when Jon Routledge saw red with 10 minutes remaining.
The only talking point of a tepid opening saw Hamilton player-manager Alex Neil cautioned from the dug-out. Neil, listed as a substitute, spoke out of turn to one of the officials and was shown a yellow card.
The visitors threatened in the 23rd minute after trickery from Jason Scotland. The veteran forward jinked his way into the box and his cutback would not break for a team-mate allowing Dons defender Taylor to clear the danger.
Taylor proved his worth at the opposite end in the 28th minute, nodding home a header to give the hosts the lead. The towering defender met McGinn's inswinging cross and nodded past the helpless Michael McGovern from eight yards.
Sensing a quick-fire second, the hosts were awarded a 25-yard free-kick but McGinn's low curling effort was comfortably dealt with by McGovern. Ryan Jack then went close with a dipping volley from 25 yards which flew wide, after Shay Logan's dangerous cross was only partially cleared by Mickey Devlin.
Home goalkeeper Scott Brown was not troubled at all in the first half but he presented Accies with a chance a minute before the break. Brown's misplaced pass fell for Tony Andreu, who teed up Ali Crawford but he failed to hit the target with a shot from just outside the penalty area.
But any chance the visitors had of getting back into the match completely vanished within 10 minutes of the second half.
They conceded twice and both goals were self-inflicted. A dreadful pass from Stephen Hendrie in the 51st minute went straight to McGinn, although the Northern Irishman still had a lot to do as he lofted a delightful 25 yard effort over the head of McGovern, who was off his line, and the ball nestled into the net.
Four minutes later, Grant Gillespie was penalised for a needless barge on Jonny Hayes and Rooney converted the spot-kick to extend Aberdeen's lead. Accies threatened to wilt as Taylor saw a downward header well saved by McGovern and then McGinn was denied by the frame of the goal with a rasping angled drive, which cannoned off the crossbar.
McGinn showed impressive technique again in the closing stages with a powerfully struck volley from 20 yards which was well handled by McGovern.
It was all very comfortable for Aberdeen and a miserable afternoon for the visitors worsened with 10 minutes remaining when Routledge was sent off. He lunged in on Jack with a poor challenge and was given a straight red.
More pain should have been inflicted on Neil's team with three minutes remaining when the Dons substitutes combined, Jeffrey Monakana squaring for Lawrence Shankland only for the youngster to balloon his shot over from close range.