A dominant performance from Aberdeen saw them back to winning ways and back into third place as Derek McInnes' side sealed a very comfortable 2-0 win over Motherwell.
There were two changes for the Dons, looking to bounce back from the 4-1 defeat at Ross County last weekend. In came Ryan Hedges, back from suspension and Funso Ojo, replacing the injured Ross McCrorie and Curtis Main, who started from the bench. Greg Leigh was among the subs after coming back from injury, replacing Kieran Ngwenya.
Motherwell's starting XI were unchanged from the side that drew 1-1 with Rangers last weekend. There were three changes to their substitutes, Jake Hastie, Chris Long and Harry Smith replacing Jordan White, Steven Lawless and David Devine.
The Dons created the first opportunity in the fourth minute, Hedges going on a long, meandering run before finding Scott Wright. It was then onto Jonny Hayes who hoisted the ball to the far post, Sam Cosgrove heading behind. Gallagher was in the book two minutes later for a horrible looking late lunge on Lewis Ferguson.
Twelve minutes in, Hedges found himself in a shooting position, coming across goal from the right before bending a left footed shot just wide of goal. The Dons were in front in the 15th minute though, Matty Kennedy driving in an immaculately placed free-kick from wide on the right, Tommie Hoban rising in the middle of the penalty area to guide his header beyond Kelly and in.
It could have been two in the 17th minute, Hedges threading the ball through the six yard box without anyone getting a touch. Aberdeen recycled the ball well and Hedges then played a clever one-two with Wright across the top of the box, receiving the ball back and again driving a shot through the area but just wide.
There was real danger in the 20th minute, Motherwell coming down the left with Watt, Joe Lewis making a fine save as he drove his effort across goal. The rebound dropped nicely for Seedorf ten yards out, but Ojo was quickly onto him to block the shot. They were closer still three minutes later, a crossfield pass from Ojo intercepted by Watt on halfway. He drove goalwards and fired in a low shot that was past but Lewis but fortunately, it struck the base of the post and bounced back into Lewis' arms.
Polworth and Wright tangled in the 25th minute, Polworth swinging his elbow and then kicking out at the prone figure of Wright, before then raising his arms to Ojo in the aftermath. Somehow, Polworth escaped with a yellow card, Wright given one too, presumably for being fouled. The whistler then gave Ojo a yellow too, underlining that he'd seen the second incident in which Polworth was involved, making his single yellow card all the more inexplicable.
A spell of Aberdeen pressure eventually gave Ferguson a sight of goal in the 32nd minute, coming onto the ball on the edge of the area, but he pulled his shot wide of the near post. The Dons were very much the better side at this point and going in search of that important second goal while pressing and defending well when they needed to.
HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 1 MOTHERWELL 0
Long replaced Seedorf for the visitors at the break, the Dons as they were. They were nearly two up in the opening minute. Hedges and Wright had the ball to themselves on the right of the Motherwell box before giving the ball to Hoban to cross. The ball was half cleared, Ojo running onto it, only to see his shot blocked.
Motherwell broke from there, Polworth colliding with Ferguson on halfway. From there, play went on but once the ball went dead, referee Napier came back and showed Polworth a straight red card, presumably for dissent given there looked nothing much in the challenge.
There were shouts for handball against Carroll in the 53rd minute as he leant forward into a Ferguson cross but the referee waved away the penalty claims. Three minutes later, Watt was replaced by Smith for the Steelmen.
Hedges was inches away in the 57th minute, great, patient possession from the Dons eventually working an opening for him on the edge of the area, but his left footed drive was just wide of goal with Kelly grasping at thin air.
Wright was close a moment later, Cosgrove intercepting on halfway, Hedges' long ball getting Wright in behind the defence, Kelly very swiftly off his line to narrow the angle and save. There was an even better one in the 61st minute, Kennedy's cross to the back post finding Ferguson. He got up well to head down and back across goal but Kelly was away to his right to brilliantly scoop the ball to safety. Motherwell boss Graham Alexander was next in the referee's notebook in the 62nd minute after disputing a decision.
Kelly was at full stretch again in the 65th minute, good feet from Kennedy getting himself room to fire at goal from the left edge of the box, Kelly clawing it behind one handed. From the corner, Ash Taylor buried his header into the net only for the referee to rule it out for a push. It was one-way traffic now, but Motherwell were still clinging on.
Ferguson and Hedges opened 'Well up again in the 70th minute with a quick passing routine, but Ferguson's low cross was scrambled clear. Dean Campbell replaced Ojo a couple of minutes later in Aberdeen's first change. A bobbling ball in the box nearly had Cosgrove in on goal almost immediately, but it just pinballed too far ahead of him to give Kelly the chance to tidy up.
A quick Aberdeen break saw Kelly involved again, diving to his right to push the ball behind from Kennedy's deflected shot in the 76th minute. But from the corner, it was Andrew Considine on the mark to make it 2-0. Kennedy and Hedges worked a short corner, Hedges running into the box before picking out Ferguson. His shot was blocked but Considine was following in and he tucked the ball away for a first goal of the season on the day he went past Bobby Clark in the Dons' league appearances chart.
Kelly was there to deny Cosgrove in the 79th minute, Ferguson slotting him through. A good first touch from Cosgrove got him into the box, Kelly just saving his low shot with an outstretched leg. Wright was then replaced by Connor McLennan. A double change for Motherwell followed, McGinley and Hastie joining the fray, Carroll and Cole making way.
Kennedy wasn't far away from a goal in the 85th minute, a ferocious left foot shot from 20 yards forcing Kelly into another fine save up to his right. There was a triple change for Aberdeen in the 88th minute including a debut for Virtanen. He was joined by Leigh and Main as Kennedy, Cosgrove and Hayes made way. At the same time, Maguire was introduced in place of Crawford as a very satisfactory afternoon edged towards a close.