At the break Jai Quitongo - son of former Hearts winger Jose - replaced Scott Wright who picked up a knock in the tackle that led to the second penalty award.
With nine men, it was Thistle who started the second half the brighter and almost halved the deficit straight from the restart. First team regular Nathan Ecclestone’s speculative effort crashed off the underside of the crossbar, only to be cleared by a somewhat hesitant Dons defence as Thistle tried to find a way back into the match.
Despite a bright start to the second half, Aberdeen put the game beyond Thistle as Cammy Smith added a third. A great interchange of passing at the edge of the area between Smith and Shankland saw scorer turn provider, slipping the ball to Smith who tucked the ball under Waters.
Content with keeping possession, Aberdeen passed the ball well with the Jags keeping a good shape despite being depleted of two players. Their resilience was then rewarded with a consolation in the 70th minute. Former Liverpool academy striker Nathan Eccleston burst down the right and laid the ball off to substitute Michael McMullin who stroked the ball past Bryce Billington in the Aberdeen goal.
Ten minutes later, Aberdeen’s half time substitution Quitongo restored the Dons’ three goal cushion. Going in search of his hattrick, Shankland flashed a shot across goal and Quitongo was on hand to prod the ball home from close range. A good goal from the former Hamilton player, and an even better celebration as he emulated his dad’s trademark backflip celebration.
All in all a professional performance from the Reds who climb to the top of the Development League table. The early red card spoiled any chance of a competitive contest, but Thistle boss Scott MacKenzie can take heart from the spirited fightback and committed attitude of his side, who have now conceded ten goals in their last two games.