Ryan Hedges scores hat-trick as Aberdeen breeze past NSI Runavik in Europa League qualifier

Substitute Ryan Hedges bagged a second-half hat-trick as Aberdeen sealed their place in the Europa League second qualifying round with an emphatic 6-0 win over Faroese side NSI Runavik.

Lewis Ferguson’s header and a close-range finish from Curtis Main had the Dons 2-0 up at the interval and Hedges added two more in the opening 15 minutes of the second half before Jonny Hayes struck a stunning fifth.

Hedges completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot in the dying stages of the game as the Dons romped home ahead of their trip to Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday.

Aberdeen survived an early injury scare after Scott Wright took a knock to the wrist in the opening minutes, but he was able to continue and would go on to impress.

Indeed, he and Main had the first two openings, and the pair would combine on the half-hour mark with only a good block from Runavik defender Johan Davidsen preventing Main opening the scoring.

However the deadlock would soon be broken. Andrew Considine was the provider with a neat chipped cross from the left which Lewis Ferguson met six yards out to head past Tordur Thomsen.

The lead was doubled six minutes later as Wright spun his man on the right before sending in a teasing ball across goal that was missed by Marley Watkins at the near post but turned home from close range by Main at the back.

Hedges replaced Main at the interval and was immediately involved in the action, creating a chance for Dylan McGeouch in the first minute of the second period, but it was Hedges himself who was on hand to prod home after Thomsen spilled a Hayes cross and the ball came off defender Rogvi Nielsen.

Wright was the provider when Hedges made it 4-0 just before the hour, turning the ball back from the centre of the penalty area for the Welshman to drill a left-footed strike home from 18 yards.

That was a good finish, but he was outdone by Hayes, who lashed high into the net from the edge of the area after Matty Kennedy was crowded out.

The match went into a bit of a lull as a number of substitutions broke up the flow of the game, but Hedges completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot after Ferguson had been fouled by Nielsen, four minutes from the end of normal time.