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Summary

  1. Niall McGinn shoots Aberdeen ahead on 79 mins
  2. Kirovski levels with a strong header
  3. Aberdeen in Europe as Premiership runners-up
  4. St Johnstone lost 1-0 to Alashkert in Armenia

Live Reporting

By Colin Moffat

All times stated are UK

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Niall McGinn
SNS Group

Niall McGinn is a big, big player for Aberdeen and it was his goal that gave them a brief lead in Skopje. The Dons will be pleased with a draw I'm sure and there will be a big turn out for the return leg next week to cheer them on.

I'll sign off now. Thanks for your company this evening and we'll do it all again in seven days' time.

We'll bring you reaction from Dons manager Derek McInnes after our reporter Jim Spence has a word with him and there may be an update on the injury to Mark Reynolds. The defender went off with an arm or wrist problem.

Of the new boys on show, Graeme Shinnie can be pleased with a solid Aberdeen debut and Paul Quinn made a couple of timely blocks when he came off the bench but keeper Danny Ward was a bit wobbly in his first competitive outing.

The teams meet again at Pittodrie next Thursday and Aberdeen will not be taking the Macedonians lightly after a testing second half in Skopje. The heat may have been a factor but the visitors were definitely second best after the break.

FULL-TIME

Shkendija 1-1 Aberdeen

The Dons will be happy with a draw after a few scares in the second half. Niall McGinn knocked in the away goal but Shkendija got the equaliser their play deserved through an excellent header from Hristijan Kirovski.

Shkendija are pressing for one last chance and leaving spaces at the back, with Niall McGinn suddenly getting a clear view of goal, but he can't lift his shot beyond goalkeeper Jovanovski.

With four minutes of stoppage time signalled, Aberdeen full-back Shay Logan is on hand to hack clear when defending a corner.

Aberdeen defender Ash Taylor summons the energy to go up for a free-kick and meets a deep delivery from Jonny Hayes, only to head over from a promising position.

The Aberdeen players look pretty knackered as the game enters the 88th minute. Manager Derek McInnes will just want to get through the last few moments with this score intact.

GOAL

Shkendija 1-1 Aberdeen (Kirovski)

The hosts draw level as Hristijan Kirovski comes off the bench to plant a great header into the top corner with what might have been his first touch!

Paul Quinn puts his face where it hurts to stop a thunderous shot. The former Ross County skipper hardly flinched!

GOAL

Shkendija 0-1 Aberdeen (McGinn)

After come through a sticky spell to take the lead and it's Niall McGinn who starts and finishes the move. The Northern Ireland international drives forward to pick out Shay Logan then runs on to the full-back's low cross to plant a shot inside the post from near the penalty spot.

A blunder from Danny Ward almost gifts the hosts a goal! The diving keeper lets the ball run behind him thinking it's going out of play but Ibraimi shows great pace and tenacity to get to the ball on the byline near the post and cuts it back across goal. Paul Quinn needs to make a great blocking tackle to deny Junior a tap in.

It's after 10:30 in Macedonia but still very warm, with the majority of the crowd in short sleeves. Will Aberdeen feel the heat in the closing stages?

SUBSTITUTION

Mark Reynolds looks to be in a spot of trouble as he leaves the pitch clutching his arm after a collision with an opponent. The defender is immediately replaced by Paul Quinn.

SUBSTITUTION

Aberdeen make a double change as David Goodwillie and Peter Pawlett come on to replace Adam Rooney and Willo Flood. Rooney, who was so prolific in front of goal last season, didn't get a sniff of a chance in those first 65 minutes.

It's that man Ibraimi again. This time he fizzes a free-kick from 30 yards wide of the mark.

Shkendija threaten from a corner as Ibraimi flashes a near post header into the side-netting. The substitute has made a significant impact for the home side.

Aberdeen's Niall McGinn connects well with a strike from the left but the keeper gobbles it up with a rather flashy flying save.

Graeme Shinnie
SNS Group

Graeme Shinnie is making his Aberdeen debut tonight and has been comfortable in a midfield role.

A free-kick from Ibraimi clears the defensive wall but it's a simple save for Danny Ward, who takes the sting out of the shot by patting it down to the ground.

Aberdeen enjoy a lucky break as Hasani sprints away from the Dons defence but is erroneously ruled offside. The hosts have definitely picked up the pace.

Macedonia international Besart Ibraimi is on as a replacement and is immediately involved in an attack. However, the former Schalke player loses his footing on the edge of the box as the ball comes his way.

KICK-OFF

We're up and running again.

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright on the 1-0 loss to Alashkert.

"Once we went behind, I think we were the slightly better side, moved a lot quicker and created a few opportunities.

"Unfortunately we couldn't get that goal, which would have been a really good result away form home, but we are only 1-0 down and the tie is very much alive."

Remember, Rijeka of Croatia await the winners of this tie and there are two more rounds to negotiate after that to reach the group stage. The Dons went out to Real Sociedad at the third qualifying stage last year, so that indicates the level of opposition to come.

HALF-TIME

Schkendija 0-0 Aberdeen

It's not been a classic but Aberdeen have got through 45 minutes with the minimum of fuss. Visiting manager Derek McInnes will be content with the scoreline but I'm sure he'd like to see some better service to striker Adam Rooney after the interval.

Aberdeen have lost their way slightly, with one too many simple passes going astray. Half-time looms...

The home fans suddenly find their voices as a rocket shot from Demiri is deflected wide for a corner. Under no pressure at all, goalie Danny Ward has a very unconvincing flap at the set-piece but the home side cannot profit.

Aberdeen fans
SNS Group

The 200 Aberdeen fans in Skopje will be relatively pleased so far, with their team under no real pressure. There are no photographs of the game yet, which is why these chaps are getting some publicity. Those WiFi issues must be troubling the snappers as well as our reporter Jim Spence.

Niall McGinn is the man to have a pop but Hayes might be on the next one as the ball sails harmlessly over the target.

Jonny Hayes and Niall McGinn are over the ball as Aberdeen win a free kick 25 yards from goal...

Aberdeen are a bit sloppy dealing with a terrible throw-in from the hosts and a loose defensive header falls to Juffo, who hits a a shot from 18 yards straight at Danny Ward.

Now I don't want to tempt fate but this Schkendija side do not look up to much. Aberdeen look far more comfortable in possession as Willo Flood turns on the edge of the penalty area and hammers a shot high over the crossbar.

Aberdeen forward Niall McGinn cuts in from the left and decides to let fly, with his shot bouncing into the side-netting.

Join the debate at #bbcscotfootball

St Johnstone's David Wotherspoon on Twitter: "Disappointing result but still plenty football left to play. Great to see Saints fans across supporting us. #COYS"

Jim Spence, our man in Skopje has gone quiet - perhaps for the first time in his life. WiFi issues at the stadium apparently, so you'll need to make do with my ramblings for now...

Aberdeen are having a good wee spell as Andrew Considine shells a long throw-in into a crowded penalty area. The towering Ash Taylor gets his head to the ball but his flick goes high and wide of the target.

Dons boss Derek McInnes, normally a portrait of calm, races to the touchline in a fury as Graeme Shinnie breaks and is caught up in a tangle with the last defender. The foul mysteriously going to the hosts.

It's been a bit scruffy so far but the signs are that it will be an open game, with both sides looking to get forward. An Aberdeen attack is brought to a halt as Andrew Considine is punished for a bit of shoving at the back post.