Adam Rooney hits a hat-trick as Aberdeen notch seven against Motherwell
ADAM Rooney scored a hat-trick as Aberdeen routed a shambolic Motherwell 7-2 to strengthen their grip on second place in the Ladbrokes Premiership table.
Jonny Hayes had the Dons in front after just two minutes, and there were further strikes from Andy Considine, Rooney and Ryan Christie before the first half was done.
Rooney netted two more goals after the interval before Ryan Bowman and Stephen Pearson found the net for the visitors but Peter Pawlett added a seventh for Aberdeen.
The opener came from a deep Kenny McLean cross. Shay Logan headed back across goal, and although he was under pressure from Stephen McManus, Rooney did enough to knock the ball out to Hayes who drilled a low strike in off a desperate defender.
Christie sent two efforts wide of the upright before Considine, who signed a two-year contract extension earlier in the week, headed a Niall McGinn corner home from close range just after the half-hour mark.
Rooney stroked home the third two minutes later from a Hayes pass, but Well captain Keith Lasley will be disappointed with his role in the goal.
Lasley kept the ball in when Stevie Hammell looked to knock a teasing cross behind for a corner, and it was his poor clearance that handed Hayes the ball.
All three of the goals had been the result of poor defending, but Christie, on his first start since joining the Dons on loan from Celtic, provided a moment of brilliance.
After McGinn had taken a short corner, the former Inverness man combined well with Considine before curling a superb strike into the top corner with the outside of his left foot.
Motherwell’s misery was compounded on the hour mark when manager Mark McGhee was sent to the stands following an intervention from fourth official John McKendrick.
There was still worse to follow. Five minutes later, Rooney converted from the penalty spot after Hammell brought down Logan.
The Irishman completed his hat-trick midway through the second half with a close-range finish following another McGinn corner, and he was quickly substituted to rapturous applause.
There was some respite for the Steelmen as substitute Bowman headed home a Richard Tait free-kick, with Dons keeper Joe Lewis needlessly coming off his line to try and claim.
They pulled another goal back on 82 minutes as Pearson fired home, only for Pawlett to stroke a low finish beyond Craig Samson within seconds to restore the five-goal advantage and send the Dons three points above third-placed Rangers.
Things don’t get any easier for Motherwell. They travel to Celtic Park on Saturday to face Brendan Rodgers’s side who are scoring goals for fun in their pursuit of a domestic treble.
Ironically Motherwell posed a serious threat to Celtic’s so-far unbeaten domestic run when they led 2-0 in a league game in December. But the Hoops came back to win a thriller.
The Fir Park men will be hoping for a performance more like that game than Wednesday night’s shambles.