Aberdeen snatched a crucial win in Perth with a 1-0 win over St Johnstone.
A pretty turgid game eventually had its winner in fitting fashion, Ryan Hedges’ effort deflecting off Liam Gordon as the Dons sealed a big win at McDiarmid Park.
St Johnstone were heading into this one in fine spirits following their 2-1 win over Kilmarnock last weekend. For Aberdeen, they desperately needed a good result, following all the negative publicity that the now dubbed ‘Aberdeen eight’ brought to the club following a breach of COVID-19 protocols.
The Saints had the better of the opening chances, Danny McNamara forcing Joe Lewis into a save before Callum Hendry hit the post, albeit it wouldn’t have counted anyway as he handled the ball in the box.
That’s all there really was to shout about in the opening 30 minutes, the game being played at a fairly slow pace and little being created in the final third. It was a theme continued into the final stages of the first half as both sides came into the second half looking for more in attack. McInnes made two changes at the break in order to try and change proceedings.
But little happened as 45 minutes of little looked set to continue into the second half. Tommie Hoban had an opening but his header was wayward after the hour as this one looked set for a stalemate.
But Hedges changed that. For once in this game, someone had a drive at the opposition, Hedges rewarded for this as his effort was deflected into the net as the game’s one big chance granted it the winner.
A huge victory for Aberdeen, but St Johnstone may look back on this with one or two regrets. Here are three things we learned.
Not one for the neutral
Yeah, we’ve watched better games. Neither St Johnstone or Aberdeen created many real clear cut opportunities, with the ball spending a fair amount of time in the air and very little time in promising attacking positions.
In the end it was a deflected effort that won this, which was fitting of this game. The neutral certainly wouldn’t have enjoyed this and you can probably put both sets of Saints and Dons fans into that mix, although the latter will be very happy with the outcome.
Massive for Dons
Aberdeen as a city, not just the football club, has been put through the mill and then some over the last few weeks. Its football team has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons but this was relief.
Hard-fought, not entirely pleasing to watch at times relief, but positive news all the same. Getting a win with a depleted squad and performance that was far from their best could potentially be a springboard for Aberdeen’s season.
St Johnstone miss a trick
Against Kilmarnock, St Johnstone snatched a big opportunity to claim all three points. Tonight, it could be said they did the opposite, missing a chance to build on their Ayrshire win against a weakened Aberdeen team.
What will be more disappointing for the Perthshire Saints is that they didn’t trouble Dons keeper Lewis at all. It’s not the end of the world, but this is a game that was there to be won, but St Johnstone couldn’t take advantage.