St Mirren started on fire and hit the net after four minutes through Ilkay Durmus. Against the run of play before the interval, Niall McGinn would level proceedings. The game looked set for extra time in the second half before Jamie McGrath’s effort from range was bizarrely palmed into the net by Dons keeper Joe Lewis to send Jim Goodwin’s men into the quarter-final.
It was set to be an interesting cup tie. St Mirren had hit good form and were unbeaten in six heading into this clash, the Dons suffering a 4-0 defeat to Rangers then drawing 1-1 with Hamilton as Derek McInnes’ men struggle with fitness and isolation measures ruling players out.
Goodwin’s team came flying out the traps and got a goal four minutes in. Dylan Connolly drove the box admirably, brought down just outside the penalty area and set his Turkish teammate Durmus up for a free-kick.
He angled it expertly into the bottom corner expertly to give Goodwin a dream start and it could have been 2-0 moments later, Richard Tait cutting inside and smashing Lewis’ post.
Saints looked threatening every time they pressed forward as McInnes urged his team to wake up. They almost gave away a penalty as Tommie Hoban brought down Jon Obika in the box, but nothing was given.
Connolly was again causing problems and beat Greg Leigh with eight minutes to go in the half, his effort well-blocked by Lewis. Obika would have an even better opening three minutes later, somehow turning his effort from six yards out wide.
Things were so comfortable for Goodwin but he was left head in hands as Aberdeen equalised two minutes before half-time. The Dons broke forward and McGinn got a break of the ball, slotting past Jak Alnwick.
A kick in the teeth for the home side, they had to pick themselves up for the second half as their visitors would surely liven up. Aberdeen did have the first chance of the half, Hoban missing a header from only a few yards out.
Saints still looked the most lively in this encounter despite McInnes’ change from three at the back to four for the second half. It did, however, turn into a scrappy affair as the half rumbled on.
Extra time looked a likely scenario heading into the final 15 minutes but Aberdeen were determined for penalties early, having two shouts for handball turned away. Up the other end, Marcus Fraser then Junior Morias tested Lewis.
The Dons goalkeeper would have a moment to forget two minutes from time. McGrath’s effort looked simple for him, but he bizarrely palmed it through his own legs and it bobbled in. It was a sickener for McInnes but it was contrasted by delight for Goodwin as his side progressed to the League Cup’s last eight. Here are three things we learned.
If you don’t shoot…
For all the world this one looked destined for 120 minutes, a first 45 dominated by the Saints followed up by an even affair. But if you don’t shoot, you don’t score and that was the case for McGrath.
St Mirren had better chances than their winner, but Lewis’ attempt to deal with McGrath’s effort will haunt him as his side tumble out the cup.
Saints are rocking
That’s seven games unbeaten for Goodwin’s men now and they look like a side who have overcome all the hardship Covid-19 has thrown their way this term.
Defensively they look sound and their winner is proof that things are beginning to fall for them. Taking this into upcoming Premiership matches is key.
A week to forget
It’s been a tough six days for Aberdeen. Following news that Lewis Ferguson, Conor McLennan and Ross McCrorie would have to go into self-isolation, three poor results have followed.
A 4-0 defeat to Rangers, 1-1 draw with Hamilton and now a cup exit. McInnes will want to forget about this quickly to make sure their press for third isn’t affected.