A second half Jonny Hayes strike was enough for Aberdeen to pick up a crucial Scottish Premiership victory on the road against St Johnstone.

The hosts dominated the bulk of possession in the first half with Aberdeen persisting on playing the ball out from the back which was just bringing pressure. Saints could’ve been 2-0 up within the first 10 minutes with Chris Kane and Glenn Middleton having chances.

Middleton had chances. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Tommie Hoban had Aberdeen’s only clear chance of the first half with a glancing header deflecting out for a corner. The visitors had only scored two goals in their last 11 games prior to the match and this was evident with the sheer lack of efforts on goal.

But it was Aberdeen who took the lead just seven minutes into the second half through Hayes, who latched onto the ball and slotted it coolly past Zander Clark. Saints had a free-kick in a dangerous position just after the hour-mark after Craig Conway was fouled by Ross McCrorie. The resulting free-kick was on target but well held by Joe Lewis.

St Johnstone then hit the bar after Callum Booth crossed the ball in, May flicking on and Shaun Rooney was an inch away from levelling the match. The hosts tried everything to force a point with a flurry of late corners but the Dons were resolute in their defending with everyone in red camped in their own half.

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The Aberdeen goalkeeper made several saves. (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

They had a shout for a penalty before Lewis made a crucial save to deny Ali McCann from close range, a match-winning stop from the Aberdeen captain. The Dons held on to pick up a much needed three points in Perth, their first away win of 2021 in the league. Here are three things we learned.

Can the Dons get third place?

These three points could certainly kickstart their race for third place with Hibs playing Rangers this weekend. Two 1-0 wins in succession can maybe boost the confidence of the Aberdeen players and install the belief they are good enough to win their remaining games under new manager Stephen Glass.

One shot, one goal

St Johnstone dominated most of the chances and possession in the match, however, Hayes’ strike that separated the sides with was perhaps Aberdeen’s only clear-cut shot on target. It will be frustrating for Saints manager Callum Davidson to look back on, having scored eight goals at home all season.

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Crucial Hayes winner. (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Leading by example

The Aberdeen captain’s save late on to deny a certain Saints equaliser just showed the quality the Englishman has. When the ball broke to McCann, it looked like the Dons were going to be thrown a sucker punch, but Lewis was quick to deny the goal at the feet of the Northern Irish international.

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