Looking to get back to winning ways after last weekend's defeat at Hibernian, and to leapfrog Motherwell who host Rangers tomorrow, Derek McInnes made three changes to his starting team. Funso Ojo returned from injury, along with Ryan Hedges and Niall McGinn, making his 300th appearance for the Dons. Andrew Considine and Jon Gallagher dropped to the bench with Zak Vyner missing out.
Hamilton, one of the bottom three teams, all on 12 points, were looking to bounce back after losing 1-0 at home to St Mirren last Saturday made five changes to their side with the suspended Alexander Gogic, Brian Easton, Lewis Smith, Marios Ogkmpoe and Steve Davies all missing out. They were replaced by Will Collar, George Oakley, Ross Cunningham, Scott Martin and Jamie Hamilton.
Accies were the first to break, winning a first minute free-kick through Miller's theatrical dive 25 yards out. Fortunately, Cunningham put his effort straight into the wall.
The Dons weren't far away in the sixth minute, going back to front smartly, Ash Taylor's long ball reaching Niall McGinn who drifted inside to find Lewis Ferguson, his neat pass culminating in a pull back from Shay Logan, James Wilson's deft touch at the near post bundled behind by the goalkeeper.
After a tentative start, the Dons began to slick the ball around nicely, staying patient against an Accies side that were defending in depth, Aberdeen trying to find the gaps. They almost found one in the 17th minute, Ojo pouncing on a loose ball 20 yards out, his shot getting a thick, spinning deflection that took the ball just over the bar. James Wilson's corner was nodded onto Scott McKenna at the back post but under pressure, he headed wide.
As the half wore on, Aberdeen were penning Hamilton into their final third, constantly knocking on the door without finding the finish. Great feet from Wilson created a crossing opportunity for Logan in the 25th minute, Sam Cosgrove glancing his header wide of goal.
Two minutes later, a mazy run from McGinn got him into the box but his initial shot was blocked. Hedges was running onto it, his left footed drive well held by Southwood, who then took an age over clearing the ball from his hands, not for the first time.
The Dons almost broke the deadlock in the 35th minute, Wilson slipping McGinn into the box, Southwood down smartly to save with his legs, the ball rebounding off the advancing Wilson and ballooning goal wards, only for Hamilton to clear it off the line.
Wilson won a corner in the 39th minute, good control earning a shooting chance that was blocked behind. From the corner, McKenna gave someone out in the streets an early Christmas present, blazing his shot over the bar, over the stand and out of the ground.
A couple of minutes before the break, Greg Leigh went down needing treatment and after consulting the physios, off he went, Considine coming on to replace him.
Quick thinking by Ojo, taking a fast free-kick, almost opened Accies up as we went into injury time, McGinn's cross reaching Logan at the back post, the massed ranks of the Hamilton defence blocking the ball away to safety, the last real action of the half.
HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 0 HAMILTON ACADEMICAL 0
Jon Gallagher replaced Ojo at the break as the Dons looked to find the goal their first half possession deserved. They caused immediate consternation in the visiting defence with a drilled cross from Considine, Southwood at full stretch to push the ball clear.
The goal did come in the 53rd minute, a lovely ball out to the left by the impressive Wilson giving McGinn the chance to look up and pick out a cross to the back stick where Sam Cosgrove did the rest from three yards out, nudging the ball in off the post with his right foot.
Accies finally tried a shot at goal after 64 minutes, Oakley slashing an effort from distance well wide but for the most part, the visitors were still happy to sit deep and soak up the pressure. Beck for Cunningham was their first change in the 70th minute.
Wilson took a nasty blow in the Christmas baubles as he blocked a cross in the 71st minute, then the Dons introduced Dean Campbell for Hedges as the game became increasingly scrappy.
Aberdeen won a corner in the 78th minute, their sixth of the game, McGinn sending it to the back post, Cosgrove heading it back across goal, the ball drifting wide. Hamilton then made a double change to try and find a late equaliser, Martin and Oakley making way for Moyo and Ogkmpoe.
The first yellow card of the day came Stubbs' way in the 85th minute after he scythed down McGinn on the halfway line, the game drifting to its end, but still poised on a knife edge. Wilson could have sealed things in the 88th minute, his persistence creating an angle for a shot, but from just outside the box, he put his effort into the crowd.
A late goalmouth scramble involving McGinn and Cosgrove brought claims for handball and a penalty, referee Collum unimpressed despite the appeals of the Aberdeen forwards. In the end, it didn't matter, Aberdeen seeing out the win and heading back into third place in the table.