Scottish Premiership
Inverness CT1Aberdeen2

Inverness CT 1-2 Aberdeen

Niall McGinn clinched Aberdeen's highest league finish in 21 years as victory at Inverness secured at least the runners-up spot in the Premiership.

Edward Ofere shot Caley Thistle into a deserved lead at the start of the second half.

However, the resilient Dons hit back with McGinn's free-kick deflected in by the head of David Raven.

And McGinn's winner moved the Dons back to within five points of Celtic ahead of the leaders' trip to Dundee United.

The result also means Celtic cannot win the league at home to Dundee on Friday even if they pick up the three points at Tannadice on Sunday.

This was Aberdeen's fourth win of the season against the Highlanders but Inverness will be kicking themselves at failing to take anything from a match they dominated in the first half.

Unfortunately for John Hughes and his side they failed to make the most of the chances they created and paid the penalty as the Dons' threat grew on an afternoon when a strong wind made fluent football difficult at times.

Josh Meekings played for the home side after a difficult week for the defender, who was cleared to play in next month's Scottish Cup final after successfully challenging the offer of a ban.

Adam Rooney and Josh Meekigns
Meekings (right) tackles Adam Rooney in the first half

Bizarrely, there was confusion over whether he could face Aberdeen, with his name appearing on the Scottish Football Association's list of players due to serve suspensions despite only being booked three times this season.

Aberdeen struggled to get their game going when playing into the wind in the first half but Nick Ross and Marley Watkins failed to make the most of the excellent chances the home side created.

Watkins in particular was guilty of a terrible miss shooting into goalkeeper Scott Brown's body when it seemed easier to convert Graeme Shinnie's sweeping cross.

Watkins turned provider early in the second half with a cross for Ofere's header that Brown blocked, but the Nigerian lashed the rebound high into the net.

Then there was agony for last week's Scottish Cup hero Raven as the full-back - who got the extra-time semi-final winner against Celtic - diverted McGinn's free-kick past Ryan Esson.

Six minutes later, McGinn pounced to ram the loose ball in for the winner after an in-swinging Jonny Hayes corner had caused all sorts of problems for the home defence.

Defeat leaves Inverness still looking for a first home win since mid-January and with just four points from the last 24 available, but still on course to finish third, which would be the highest in their 21-year history.

Niall McGinn scores for Aberdeen against Inverness Caledonian Thistle
McGinn settled the match with around 16 minutes left

Line-ups

Inverness CT

  • 1Esson
  • 2RavenSubstituted forKinkat 87'minutes
  • 5Warren
  • 6Meekings
  • 3Shinnie
  • 11RossSubstituted forVincentat 72'minutes
  • 16Tansey
  • 22ChristieSubstituted forDoranat 73'minutes
  • 19Williams
  • 7Ofere
  • 15Watkins

Substitutes

  • 4Vincent
  • 10Doran
  • 14Devine
  • 18Tremarco
  • 20Polworth
  • 25Kink
  • 31Mackay

Aberdeen

  • 20Brown
  • 2Logan
  • 5Taylor
  • 6Reynolds
  • 3ConsidineBooked at 52mins
  • 10McGinnSubstituted forDanielsat 90+1'minutes
  • 8Flood
  • 22Jack
  • 11Hayes
  • 7McLeanSubstituted forSmithat 45'minutes
  • 9RooneySubstituted forGoodwillieat 78'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Langfield
  • 14Smith
  • 16Pawlett
  • 17Goodwillie
  • 18Low
  • 25Shankland
  • 28Daniels
Referee:
Crawford Allan
Attendance:
4,530

Match Stats

Home TeamInverness CTAway TeamAberdeen
Possession
Home51%
Away49%
Shots
Home6
Away6
Shots on Target
Home5
Away4
Corners
Home6
Away5
Fouls
Home10
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Inverness CT 1, Aberdeen 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Inverness CT 1, Aberdeen 2.

Foul by Josh Meekings (Inverness CT).

Cameron Smith (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. Donervorn Daniels replaces Niall McGinn.

Substitution

Substitution, Inverness CT. Tarmo Kink replaces David Raven.

Edward Ofere (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Ash Taylor (Aberdeen).

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Scott Brown.

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Andrew Considine.

James Vincent (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Willo Flood (Aberdeen).

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. David Goodwillie replaces Adam Rooney.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Ryan Esson.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Ryan Esson.

Attempt saved. Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top left corner.

Goal!

Goal! Inverness CT 1, Aberdeen 2. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Cameron Smith.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Graeme Shinnie.

Substitution

Substitution, Inverness CT. Aaron Doran replaces Ryan Christie.

Substitution

Substitution, Inverness CT. James Vincent replaces Nick Ross.

Foul by Ryan Christie (Inverness CT).

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

Greg Tansey (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Cameron Smith (Aberdeen).

Goal!

Own Goal by David Raven, Inverness CT. Inverness CT 1, Aberdeen 1.

Foul by Ryan Christie (Inverness CT).

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

Foul by Edward Ofere (Inverness CT).

Andrew Considine (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Edward Ofere (Inverness CT).

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

Foul by Gary Warren (Inverness CT).

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

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Mark Reynolds.

Ryan Christie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Andrew Considine (Aberdeen).

Booking

Andrew Considine (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card.

Ryan Christie (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Andrew Considine (Aberdeen).

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

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic33254470175379
2Aberdeen34235656292774
3Inverness CT331671045351055
4St Johnstone34156133132-151
5Dundee Utd32154135247549
6Dundee341111124547-244
7Hamilton34137144448-446
8Partick Thistle34118154339441
9Kilmarnock34108163650-1438
10Ross County34107174058-1837
11Motherwell3494213359-2631
12St Mirren3473242660-3424
View full Scottish Premiership table

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