Barry Robson strengthened his case for being considered a credible replacement for Jim Goodwin as Aberdeen manager with a convincing win that reduced Hearts' lead in fourth place to just four points.

The Dons fans certainly made it clear who they want by cheering the name of their former player at regular intervals and especially at the end of this impressive performance that simply blew Robbie Neilson’s team away.

The man himself continued to play a straight bat when asked about those prospects and said afterwards: "[It's] a question for the board again. There’s nothing I can give you on that. I’ve not spoken to them. It’s something you’ll need to ask them.”

Robson also declined to deflect any of the limelight from the players who made it three league wins in a row for the first time in 15 months.

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He said: “The way we want to play and the way an Aberdeen fan wants to see their team play is fast, quick and up-and-at-you, playing through the lines and exciting.

“It is not easy to get that every week. It is a really hard way of playing and you have got to be skilled at it, physically ready for it and play the right passes at the right times – but the players did it perfectly in the first half.

“We have seen signs of it in the last few weeks, there have been some good performances and we have scored some really good goals.”

A double from Luis “Duk” Lopes added to Mattie Pollock’s first for the club, moves the Dons to within four points of Hearts in the race for a Europa League place.

It is now Robbie Neilson’s side who appear to be in disarray, as was clear in a first half where they were lucky to reach the interval no further than three goals adrift such was the gulf in class.


Graeme Shinnie’s return on loan from Wigan has also been a major factor in the Dons’ recent revival and it was his drive, aggression and ability that led to an opener after five minutes that did little to boost Zander Clark’s Scotland credentials.

Shinnie burst beyond a feckless Barrie McKay and Clark could only feebly palm the ball out to Duk ,who netted with the aid of slight deflection, but in both instances the goalkeeper should have done better.It was a criticism that applied to the entire Hearts back line when the former Sporting Lisbon and Benfica youngster added his second in 21 minutes when Pollock broke forward. Not only was the centre-back not closed down, Duk also evaded his marker to glance a delightful header beyond Clark.

The marking was equally lax when Pollock added the third before half-an-hour had elapsed when on-loan Liverpool midfielder Leighton Clarkson’s free-kick found the defender stealing in to send a diving header soaring into the net.

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The only surprise was that no further damage was done and the away support weren’t shy about letting their feelings be known at the full-time whistle.

Hearts have squandered a substantial lead in the race for third as their form has tailed off and Neilson admits the team merited the abuse from Hearts supporters at full time.

He said:“I certainly do [understand the jeers] because I was as frustrated as they were. They paid their money to come up here. It’s a long journey on the train, expensive – to go and watch that.”