Scottish Premiership
Aberdeen1Motherwell0

Aberdeen 1-0 Motherwell

Aberdeen struck late to beat Motherwell and move nine points clear of third-placed Rangers in the Premiership.

Adam Rooney twice came close for the Dons in the first half, heading over then having a shot saved.

Nial McGinn and Kenny McLean also tested goalkeeper Craig Samson while Well rarely threatened.

It looked as though the visitors had done enough for a point until McGinn converted Jonny Hayes' low cross in stoppage time.

The gap between Aberdeen and leaders Celtic, who host Rangers on Sunday, now stands at 24 points while Motherwell remain three points above second-bottom Hamilton Academical but are now just four ahead of Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

This was the Dons' eighth successive home victory in all competitions, the first time they have achieved this feat since the Alex Ferguson era.

Never say die

One thing about Aberdeen under Derek McInnes is that they find ways to win matches and this was another example.

It was the eighth time this season a late goal has secured victory.

They hit the same opponents for seven less than a month ago, but the points accumulation is the same.

For long spells they dominated Motherwell with Samson pulling several good saves out of the top drawer, in particular from Rooney and McGinn in the first half.

Niall McGinn
McGinn scored his 12th goal of the season

McGinn's goal came way too late for Motherwell to be able to do anything about it, slotting home from Hayes and once again underlining his value to the club and illustrating just why McInnes wants to retain his services.

And whilst the Steelmen left the Granite City empty handed again, there were plenty positives to take.

Redemption?

Motherwell came to Pittodrie with last month's 7-2 hammering still fresh in the memory.

That was an evening to forget for the Steelmen with former Well boss Mark McGhee's altercation with the home fans producing as many headlines as Aberdeen's ruthlessness.

But Stephen Robinson's impact has been clear to see since he took interim charge with last week's win at Kilmarnock a positive start to his reign.

They were resolute and continually kept their hosts at arm's length with Scotland squad keeper Samson looking determined to make up for February's horror show.

However, the long wait for an away clean sheet in the league goes on for Motherwell, having failed to do so for a year now.

Gaffer Robinson?

Stephen Robinson and James McFadden
Robinson (left) took charge of his second match as Motherwell's iterim boss

Robinson has certainly strengthened his hopes of getting the Fir Park job full-time despite the defeat.

Victory at Killie followed by a strong performance in Aberdeen has certainly made a statement and the Northern Irishman has to be in pole position for the post after confirmation he is on a five-man shortlist to replace McGhee.

In truth, Motherwell were a shambles on their last visit to Pittodrie, but in just a couple of weeks Robinson has brought organisation to the leakiest defence in the Premiership.

Post-match reaction

Aberdeen assistant manager Tony Docherty: "It just shows you the spirit of the side - it shows we never know when we're beaten and today was an example of that.

"There was only one team here to win the game and the other team to try and spoil it and we got exactly what we deserved out the game.

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Dons deserved win over Well - Docherty

"You credit Motherwell, they were here to stop us. They were stuffy. I thought their centre-halves played particularly well but we again found a way.

"It's a great finish from Niall but I wouldn't single out anybody. That was a real team effort to get over the line and get the three points and I feel we fully merited that."

Motherwell interim manager Stephen Robinson: "It's difficult to take. I thought we matched them every step of the way.

"We came here with a game-plan, we frustrated the life out of them. They had possession in areas that weren't going to hurt us. We defended very well.

"We get punished from switching off once.

"They worked hard. They worked the system we asked them to play and it's a massive improvement on the last time they were up here but obviously still very disappointed.

"We've done okay, we're really disappointed in terms of result and how it happened and where the five minutes of added time came from we're not too sure. You deal with that and we get on with it.

"I'm going to have a chat with the board on Monday, see what they feel about the club and where they want to take the football club and we'll go from there."

Line-ups

Aberdeen

  • 1Lewis
  • 2Logan
  • 5Taylor
  • 15O'ConnorSubstituted forStoreyat 83'minutes
  • 3Shinnie
  • 22Jack
  • 7McLean
  • 11Hayes
  • 9RooneySubstituted forChristieat 73'minutes
  • 10McGinn
  • 17StockleyBooked at 82mins

Substitutes

  • 8Christie
  • 16Pawlett
  • 25Alexander
  • 26Wright
  • 27Ross
  • 29McLennan
  • 39Storey

Motherwell

  • 1Samson
  • 25FergusonBooked at 75mins
  • 4HeneghanBooked at 13mins
  • 21Jules
  • 3HammellBooked at 72minsSubstituted forFrearat 76'minutes
  • 12CaddenBooked at 90mins
  • 8McHugh
  • 20Clay
  • 88PearsonBooked at 69mins
  • 77McDonald
  • 11BowmanBooked at 32minsSubstituted forBlythat 64'minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Ainsworth
  • 13Griffiths
  • 14Lasley
  • 17Frear
  • 19Blyth
  • 26Campbell
  • 36Gordon
Referee:
Euan Anderson
Attendance:
12,524

Match Stats

Home TeamAberdeenAway TeamMotherwell
Possession
Home58%
Away42%
Shots
Home14
Away6
Shots on Target
Home6
Away0
Corners
Home12
Away4
Fouls
Home9
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, Aberdeen 1, Motherwell 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Aberdeen 1, Motherwell 0.

Kenny McLean (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by David Ferguson (Motherwell).

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Carl McHugh.

Goal!

Goal! Aberdeen 1, Motherwell 0. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jonny Hayes with a cross.

Foul by Ryan Jack (Aberdeen).

Chris Cadden (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Booking

Chris Cadden (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Chris Cadden.

Foul by Craig Clay (Motherwell).

Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. Miles Storey replaces Anthony O'Connor.

Booking

Jayden Stockley (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Chris Cadden (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen).

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

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Craig Samson.

Attempt saved. Kenny McLean (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Craig Samson.

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

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. Elliott Frear replaces Steven Hammell.

Attempt blocked. Stephen Pearson (Motherwell) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Booking

David Ferguson (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card.

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. Ryan Christie replaces Adam Rooney.

Ben Heneghan (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Adam Rooney (Aberdeen).

Booking

Steven Hammell (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Steven Hammell (Motherwell).

Kenny McLean (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Carl McHugh (Motherwell) header from very close range is blocked.

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Graeme Shinnie.

David Ferguson (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen).

Booking

Stephen Pearson (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Stephen Pearson (Motherwell).

Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Kenny McLean (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner.

Attempt missed. Kenny McLean (Aberdeen) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is too high.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by David Ferguson.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic27261073165779
2Aberdeen28174751242755
3Rangers2713773732546
4Hearts28118950351541
5St Johnstone28117103736140
6Partick Thistle2889113033-333
7Kilmarnock28710112744-1731
8Dundee2886143139-830
9Ross County2869133047-1727
10Motherwell2876153255-2327
11Hamilton28412122643-1724
12Inverness CT28411133252-2023
View full Scottish Premiership table

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