Gary Mackay-Steven scored a hat-trick as a rampant Aberdeen produced a stunning display to inflict a first away Scottish Premiership defeat of the season on Hibernian
Mackay-Steven, the match-winner when the teams met in the reverse fixture at Easter Road in October, netted twice before the interval after Graeme Shinnie’s opener.
The 27-year-old winger completed his treble in the second period as the Dons ran out 4-1 winners to chalk up a third straight victory.
The result was damaging for Hibs’ hopes of keeping pace with the Pittodrie club and Rangers in the race for second spot.
The hosts never looked back after going in front in the 11th minute with an impressive team goal, finished off by Shinnie.
Kenny McLean clipped a ball over to the left wing for Mackay-Steven, whose neat cushioned volley was played into Shinnie’s path and the Dons skipper swept home from 12 yards.
Shinnie had another attempt in the 16th minute, driving at the visiting defence and firing a shot from outside the penalty area wide of the target.
Hibs tried to edge their way back into proceedings and midway through the first half, Brandon Barker saw a 25-yard shot go straight at Joe Lewis before Paul Hanlon failed to direct a header on target from Darren McGregor’s knockdown.
Aberdeen, however, continued to carry a threat and they doubled their advantage in the 36th minute through Mackay-Steven.
Andrew Considine picked out the lively winger, who nutmegged McGregor and stabbed a low shot in off the past.
Mackay-Steven scored again just before half-time after a mistake from Efe Ambrose. The Nigerian defender was robbed of possession by his former Celtic team-mate, who ran clean through on goal to slot the ball past Ofir Marciano.
Neil Lennon’s men nearly clawed one back immediately when John McGinn’s well-struck shot was superbly tipped round the post by the outstretched Lewis.
The visiting boss made a couple of changes at the interval with McGregor and Marvin Bartley making way for Steven Whittaker and Anthony Stokes.
Hibs hardly improved, though, and they fell further behind in the 62nd minute when Mackay-Steven netted with a thumping drive to ensure he went home with the match ball.
Mackay-Steven cut in off the left and drilled a crisp, right-footed effort inside the far post to leave Marciano completely helpless.
The Scotland cap then took the acclaim of the Pittodrie crowd when he was replaced by Scott Wright in the 69th minute.
The Dons had further opportunities to make the scoreline even more emphatic, with Considine seeing a header ruled out for offside and substitute Nicky Maynard spurning a chance.
The travelling band of Hibs supporters did, at least, have a consolation goal to warm them up in the final minute when a Stokes strike took a big deflection off Shinnie and the ball looped up over Lewis, but this was still a miserable afternoon for the visiting side.