Aberdeen put on one of their finest away performances for many years as they demolished Falkirk in the fourth round of the SPFL League Cup. Goals from Joe Shaughnessy then Cammy Smith gave the Dons a two-nil advantage at half time before Scott Vernon scored a second half hatrick to send the Dons into the draw for the quarter finals.
Derek McInnes made two changes to the starting line up. Andy Considine suffered a slight injury and wasn't risked while Gregg Wylde was dropped to the bench. They were replaced by Clark Robertson and Nicky Low respectively.
The Dons created their first chance on 3 minutes- Cammy Smith made a great run into the box and pulled the ball back but unfortunately for him on one was there to put the ball in to the back of the net.
The Dons continued their bright opening with some fine play but on 6 minutes Calvin Zola was harshly booked after rushing through the Falkirk defence and clashing with keeper McGovern who had gone to ground to collect the ball.
There were then two chances in quick succession for the visitors. First, great play by Ryan Jack found Johnny Hayes who in turn played a super ball towards Calvin Zola. The big striker was beaten to it as the Falkirk player cleared for a corner. From the corner, Hayes found Zola again, whose header powerful header was cleared off the line. The Bairns then broke up field at pace- forcing a great save from Langfield. Back at the other end Hayes found himself through the defence and bearing down on goal but hesitated for a second and McGovern made the save before Nicky Low fired the rebound over.
On 12 minutes a powerful strike from Zola from 25 yards saw McGovern called into action again and the keeper spilled the initial effort but collected the rebound.
Great play by Nicky Low on 21 minutes saw him pick the ball up and skip past a Falkirk defender but he hesitated and the defender smashed ball out for corner. The ball eventually fell to Nicky from the corner but he blasted over the bar. The Dons wouldn't be denied for long though and on 23 minutes they took a deserved lead.
Clark Robertson's long throw into the near post landed at the feet of Shaughnessy and he lashed the ball past McGovern into the back of the net. A short time later the Irishman was unlucky not to double the Dons advantage when his speculative touch appeared to be heading in before being cleared off the line by Sibbald.
Derek McInnes then made the decision to remove Calvin Zola on 32 minutes to avoid a looming second yellow card. The striker had been attracting the attention of referee McLean for some innocuous looking challenges however the decision to replace him with Scott Vernon was a sensible one.
Within a minute of the substitution the Dons doubled their lead after a fantastic move was rounded off by a stunning finish from Cammy Smith. It was no less than the Dons deserved for a superb first half performance which was played at high tempo. A long range effort from Sibbald failed to trouble Jamie Langfield on 39 minutes.
The Dons started the second half in the same vein with some excellent, crisp passing and there were a few weak calls for a penalty when Pawlett went down early on in the half but referee McLean waved play on.
McGovern was again at the centre of attention a short time later- Jack played a great ball to Vernon inside the box who forced the Falkirk keeper into a save. Minutes later, more great play by Aberdeen on 52 minutes saw the ball floated over the home defence and Vernon picked it up and played inside to Low who fired well over the bar.
Aberdeen then finished the game off with two goals in the space of 2 minutes- both from Scott Vernon. Firstly, he slid the ball under McGovern and into the net before pouncing on the keeper's parry to hammer the Dons into a four-nil lead.
The Falkirk stopper was then forced into another save on 62 minutes when Cammy Smith pounced on a great through ball but saw McGovern punch out for a corner. From the corner, a Vernon header went really close. Aberdeen kept up the pressure and 2 minutes later Smith was unlucky not to finish after a superb run behind the defence.
Craig Murray replaced Johnny Hayes on 67 minutes as the Dons continued to push for further goals, McGovern saving from a Shaughnessy header. At the other end, Jamie Langfield had little to do but did have to deal with a dipping volley from the edge of the box on 73 minutes.
Aberdeen were not to be denied a fifth goal though and they raced up the park, the ball eventually falling to Pawlett who drove into the box and was fouled. Referee McLean pointed to the spot and Scott Vernon completed his hatrick by hammering the ball past McGovern.
A few moments later, McGrandles was booked for a poor challenge on Cammy Smith but the Dons wasted the resultant free kick.
Josh Magennis replaced Smith on 80 minutes before Nicky Low had yet another decent chance to score but after a fantastic run fired wide. Then Magennis forced McGovern into an excellent save as the Dons looked for a sixth goal and could have had it 2 minutes from the end. Craig Murray played a super ball towards Ryan Jack who spun but found his shot blocked by the busy Falkirk goalkeeper who kept the score to five-nil.