Niall McGinn's first goal in three months earned Aberdeen a draw in a fast-paced match against Dundee United.

The Northern Irishman met Barry Robson's perfect delivery to head in from six yards and equalise after United had taken an early lead.

Tangerines midfielder Paul Paton's classy finish made an initially sloppy Aberdeen pay in the sixth minute.

Both teams have now gone four games unbeaten in the Premiership as the battle for second place intensifies.

Derek McInnes's Aberdeen still occupy that coveted spot and move two points clear of Motherwell, who lost at home to Kilmarnock.

Jackie McNamara has now failed to mastermind a victory over the Dons in three attempts this season.

Paul Paton's second goal of the season put United in front after six minutes

Paul Paton's second goal of the season put United in front after six minutes

Much is made of how the Dons enjoy the benefits of two former United central midfielders; Willo Flood and Barry Robson, but the beginning of this match was shaped completely by the Tangerines' current engine room.

Paton has been a quietly effective presence at the heart of United's team this season, appearing in 31 of 32 Premiership games to date.

Few more deserving, then, to be on the end of Russell Anderson's half-clearance to cleverly steer the ball into the bottom corner from 18 yards - a second goal of the season for the man who was called up by Northern Ireland in March.

And as Aberdeen struggled to settle, similar to the previous week at home against Kilmarnock, Paton's holding midfield partner almost doubled the lead. Dons' goalkeeper Jamie Langfield had to be at full stretch to turn John Rankin's long-range strike wide of the post.

Next up to deny the visitors a second was Mark Reynolds, who despite not knowing much about it, deflected John Souttar's goal-bound drive over the crossbar.

Eventually, though, Robson's influence began to tell for Aberdeen as he orchestrated a number of promising moves, the first of which he himself could have levelled the match from if he hadn't arrowed his shot straight at Radoslaw Cierzniak.

United's Polish 'keeper denied the Dons again when he turned McGinn's effort onto the inside of the post, a taste of what would be coming his way after half-time.

McGinn moved up front alongside Adam Rooney and the ripple effect was evident immediately. Robson watched his tidy half-volley be saved but the 35-year-old was soon creating Aberdeen's equaliser.

From the right-hand side, the former Celtic midfielder's cross was met by a stooping McGinn, who headed in the goal that had eluded him since December.

It was his 10th goal of the season, which almost became 11 immediately when he burst forward confidently and tested Cierzniak once more.

From there on in the game remained frenetic and end-to-end, but apart from a late, low Rooney drive, neither team created anything clear-cut.

Lineup, Bookings (2) & Substitutions (3)

Aberdeen

  • 01 Langfield
  • 29 Logan
  • 06 Reynolds
  • 08 Flood
  • 04 Anderson Booked
  • 02 Shaughnessy
  • 22 Jack
  • 15 Robson
  • 10 McGinn
  • 17 Rooney
  • 14 Smith (McManus - 77' )

Substitutes

  • 03 Robertson
  • 07 Zola
  • 09 Vernon
  • 18 Low
  • 20 Weaver
  • 24 McManus
  • 28 Tate

Dundee United

  • 01 Cierzniak
  • 12 Watson
  • 05 Gunning Booked
  • 06 Paton
  • 02 Dillon
  • 20 Souttar
  • 18 Dow
  • 08 Rankin
  • 09 Graham
  • 11 Mackay-Steven (Gauld - 64' )
  • 10 Armstrong (Gomis - 75' )

Substitutes

  • 16 Wilson
  • 19 Gauld
  • 25 McCallum
  • 27 Gomis
  • 29 El Alagui
  • 37 Smith
  • 39 Connolly
Ref: Calum Murray
Att: 14,627

Match Stats

Shots

18 8

On target

7 4

Corners

2 3

Fouls

10 13

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Aberdeen 1, Dundee United 1.

90:00 +1:52 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Aberdeen 1, Dundee United 1.

90:00 +1:10 Booking

Booking Gavin Gunning (Dundee United) is shown the yellow card.

90:00 +1:06

Hand ball by Gavin Gunning (Dundee United).

89:23

Willo Flood (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

89:23

Foul by Morgaro Gomis (Dundee United).

87:56

Attempt missed. Ryan Jack (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

87:31

Attempt saved. Adam Rooney (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

85:01

Foul by Russell Anderson (Aberdeen).

85:01

Ryan Gauld (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

84:26

Attempt missed. Barry Robson (Aberdeen) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

80:16

Attempt missed. Brian Graham (Dundee United) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

79:22

Foul by Russell Anderson (Aberdeen).

79:22

Gavin Gunning (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

78:51

Joe Shaughnessy (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

78:51

Foul by Morgaro Gomis (Dundee United).

76:47 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Aberdeen. Declan McManus replaces Cameron Smith.

74:06 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Dundee United. Morgaro Gomis replaces Stuart Armstrong.

73:50

Foul by Ryan Jack (Aberdeen).

73:50

John Souttar (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

70:55

Attempt missed. Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

63:32 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Dundee United. Ryan Gauld replaces Gary Mackay-Steven.

63:06

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Russell Anderson.

61:11

Attempt missed. Cameron Smith (Aberdeen) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high.

56:06

Barry Robson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

56:06

Foul by John Rankin (Dundee United).

55:17

Attempt missed. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

54:28

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

54:27

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

54:08

Delay in match Ryan Jack (Aberdeen) because of an injury.

53:20

Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

53:20

Foul by Sean Dillon (Dundee United).

53:04

Attempt saved. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

51:35 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Aberdeen 1, Dundee United 1. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) header from very close range to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Barry Robson with a cross.

50:42

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Radoslaw Cierzniak.

50:23

Attempt saved. Barry Robson (Aberdeen) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

49:27

Attempt missed. Ryan Jack (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

48:31

Barry Robson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

48:31

Foul by Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United).

45:47

Foul by Niall McGinn (Aberdeen).

45:47

Paul Paton (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:00

Second Half begins Aberdeen 0, Dundee United 1.

45:00 +0:13 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Aberdeen 0, Dundee United 1.

44:49

Attempt saved. Brian Graham (Dundee United) header from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the top right corner.

44:13

Foul by Joe Shaughnessy (Aberdeen).

44:13

Ryan Dow (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

41:16

Attempt saved. Ryan Jack (Aberdeen) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

39:51

(Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

39:51

Foul by Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United).

38:41

Attempt missed. Brian Graham (Dundee United) header from the centre of the box is too high.

38:00

Foul by Russell Anderson (Aberdeen).

38:00

Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

37:11

Attempt blocked. Willo Flood (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

36:46

Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) hits the right post with a right footed shot from the centre of the box.

35:05

Adam Rooney (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

35:05

Foul by John Souttar (Dundee United).

32:05

Attempt blocked. Barry Robson (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

31:07

Barry Robson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

31:07

Foul by Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United).

30:04

Russell Anderson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

30:04

Foul by Brian Graham (Dundee United).

29:03

Attempt saved. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner.

24:11

Foul by Cameron Smith (Aberdeen).

24:11

Sean Dillon (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

19:26

Willo Flood (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

19:26

Foul by Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United).

17:41

Attempt missed. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

17:13

Attempt saved. Barry Robson (Aberdeen) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

16:38

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Sean Dillon.

15:08

Attempt missed. Brian Graham (Dundee United) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

14:33

Ryan Dow (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

14:33

Foul by Willo Flood (Aberdeen).

13:57

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Jamie Langfield.

13:48

Attempt saved. Brian Graham (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

13:13 Booking

Booking Russell Anderson (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card.

13:07

Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

13:07

Foul by Russell Anderson (Aberdeen).

10:44

Attempt missed. Willo Flood (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

8:52

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Jamie Langfield.

8:39

Attempt saved. John Rankin (Dundee United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

7:35

Foul by John Rankin (Dundee United).

7:35

Barry Robson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

6:48

Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

6:48

Foul by Joe Shaughnessy (Aberdeen).

5:06 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Aberdeen 0, Dundee United 1. Paul Paton (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner.

3:53

Attempt missed. Barry Robson (Aberdeen) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

0:26

Cameron Smith (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

0:26

Foul by Keith Watson (Dundee United).

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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