Ladbrokes Premiership strugglers Hamilton stunned Aberdeen with a 2-0 win at Pittodrie.
George Oakley opened the scoring with a wonderful strike – aided by dismal Dons defending – after 34 minutes, and Mickel Miller added a second just before the hour to seal the points for the visitors.
As much as Hamilton looked a side revitalised under Brian Rice, Aberdeen looked a shadow of their usual selves as they slipped eight points behind second-placed Rangers.
The hosts’ defence struggled, with the return of Scott McKenna after a stop-start period through injury and suspension failing to steady the ship.
It took a superb save from Joe Lewis to keep the scores level after 18 minutes, after Oakley had flicked on for Miller.
The Dons’ injuries were immediately compounded as the on-loan Max Lowe was forced off with what looked to be a calf injury, to be replaced by Michael Devlin.
That forced a tactical reshuffle and the defence looked even shakier.
And it came as no surprise when the visitors took the lead, after Andrew Considine had inexplicably allowed the ball to bounce deep in his own area. Oakley finished with a superb half volley that looped over Lewis from a near-impossible angle and dropped in via the inside of the far post.
Despite their defensive struggles, they were still a threat in attack and should have been level when Greg Stewart’s cross found Sam Cosgrove eight yards out, but the usually clinical forward snatched at the chance and side-footed over the bar.
Cosgrove was denied by goalkeeper Gary Woods on the stroke of half-time, this time his header – a far better effort – pushed round the post by the outstretched left hand of the goalkeeper.
The improvement in attack continued and it was again Cosgrove who saw a close-range shot blocked by Delphin Tshiembe on the line.
It looked for all the world like an equaliser was coming, and Stewart again created an opportunity, this time for Graeme Shinnie, after 56 minutes but the Dons skipper lifted the ball over the crossbar.
Then came the sucker-punch. A poor clearance from Lewis gave Hamilton possession cheaply, and the Dons never cleared their lines. Eventually they were punished as Lenny Sowah cut back for Miller to stroke home from 10 yards.
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