The ghosts of 1995 were laid to rest in this Scottish Cup replay encounter against Stenhousemuir.
At a bitterly cold Ochilview it was the Dons that game out on top, going 3-0 up before the end of the first half, Stenny pulled one back thanks to an early second half goal, which was followed by a bizarre Donaldson own goal in the 67th minute.
Aberdeen made three changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Kilmarnock at Pittodrie on Saturday.
Scott McKenna was ruled out due to the hamstring injury that he sustained in that game. Tommie Hoban came in to replace McKenna, his first start since late August. Both Scott Wright and Niall McGinn returned to the starting XI, with Gary Mackay-Steven and Stevie May being benched.
From the get-go Aberdeen were in control of the game with Lewis Ferguson firing a drive from 22 yards out in the 5th minute only for the loose ball fell to Niall McGinn which he shot into the side netting.
It didn’t take long for the Irishman to get on the scoreboard, after taking control of a squared pass from Scott Wright and firing it beyond Smith in the Stenny goal in the 13th minute.
The second goal came courtesy of a Sam Cosgrove penalty after Greg Stewart was brought down in the box. Sam stepped up to the spot and slotted the ball into the goal – his 12th of the season in the 30th minute.
The shortly afterwards it was Greg Stewart himself that found the net, after collecting a Shinnie pass and chipping the shot into the net from 12 yards in the 38th minute.
It didn’t go all Aberdeen’s way though, after a sloppy goal early in the second half gave Stenny some confidence. From a Stenhousemuir corner, Andy Munro jumped highest at the near post and headed a goal in from close range in the 53rd minute.
Whilst Stenhousemuir kept up some second half pressure, they were dealt a blow thanks to a Ruaridh Donaldson own goal after he attempted a clearance from a Greg Stewart cross that was delivered into the box which hit the cross bar and over the line into goal.
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes said: “We got in front and the difference this time was we were far more clinical. It is what I would have expected of us.
“I was disappointed we didn’t keep a clean sheet, but it was pretty close to perfect in terms of their approach, chances created and some of their play.”
It was a confident display for the Dons who secured a 5th round televised tie against Queen of the South on Sunday 10 February at Pittodrie (kick-off 3.30pm). The Doonhamers came out of their replay against Dundee with a 3-0 win thankss to a Stephen Dobbie hat-trick.