Aberdeen cruised to a comfortable 2-0 triumph at Pittodrie as Dundee United’s Premiership campaign kicked off in underwhelming fashion.
The impressive Dons dominated the contest from first whistle to last, claiming a richly-merited opener through Jonny Hayes before Christian Ramirez doubled their advantage after the break.
United, meanwhile, turned in a performance which could best be described as ineffectual and bereft of creativity. Joe Lewis was scarcely called upon to dirty his gloves between the sticks for the Reds.
Although Tam Courts, overseeing his first league match as manager, has preached patience in his search for reinforcements, this comprehensive reverse in the Granite City underlines the need to strengthen — particularly going forward.
They need some magic in midfield; some craft to go with the graft.
And they could do with it before Rangers visit Tannadice next week.
The Dons grew increasingly sick of the sight of their New Firm foes last season, with United emerging unbeaten from four meetings — winning two — and not conceding a single goal.
Aberdeen started the game like a team aware of — and determined to rectify — that record.
It took just 80 seconds for Jay Emmanuel-Thomas to drag a shot narrowly wide from 20 yards.
A thundering rendition of ‘JET will tear you apart,’ echoed around Pittodrie to the tune of the Joy Division classic. Catchy.
Aberdeen were dominating possession — probing and recycling; huffing and puffing — but failed to cut open the massed ranks of white-and-tangerine.
Nevertheless, there was a creeping sense that United’s resistance would ultimately be broken. So it proved, after 27 minutes.
Hayes sprung the United defensive line and scampered onto a lofted Lewis Ferguson pass. The former Celtic winger then took advantage of a moment of hesitation from Benji Siegrist to dink a delightful finish beyond the Swiss stopper from a tight angle.
Fuming United stars were absolutely adamant Hayes was offside and told referee Alan Muir in no uncertain terms.
A couple of neat passages of play gave Courts’ charges some encouragement as the interval approached, most notably when a fine Liam Smith delivery flashed across the face of goal and narrowly evaded Ian Harkes.
However, any hopes of a rousing recovery were effectively dashed just six minutes into the second period in silky fashion.
A slick Aberdeen passing move culminated in the precocious Calvin Ramsay, who turned 18 on Saturday, surging down the right flank and whipping a sensational cross onto the forehead of Ramirez. The big American — plum centre, six yards out — could not miss.
Fuchs and Logan Chalmers were quickly summoned by Courts and thrown in to the action as United desperately sought a foothold.
However, neither they, nor anyone else in United colours, could spark an impotent display into life as Aberdeen managed the game with ease.