Aberdeen 0-0 St Johnstone

By Kenny CrawfordBBC Sport Scotland
Highlights - Aberdeen 0-0 St Johnstone

Aberdeen spurned several second-half chances in a goalless Scottish Premiership draw with St Johnstone at Pittodrie.

Dons winger Gregg Wylde and Saints midfielder David Wotherspoon had good efforts saved in an even first-half.

The hosts showed more attacking urgency after the break as Cammy Smith's drive was beaten away by Steve Banks.

Aberdeen's Niall McGinn hit the crossbar with an angled volley which came closest to breaking the deadlock.

The draw will be more readily accepted by the visitors, while the lack of a finishing touch might increase Aberdeen's rumoured interest in the loan-signing of Celtic striker Tony Watt.

Responding to recent set-backs was high on the agenda for both sides in front of a north-east crowd just under the 10,000 mark.

The positive start to the campaign for Tommy Wright's St Johnstone had been dented by a heavy loss to Tayside rivals Dundee United in their previous league outing.

Meanwhile, the new era under Derek McInnes at Aberdeen had all been going to plan until a couple of injuries to key players compounded two consecutive Premiership defeats.

Aberdeen's Cammy Smith and St Johnstone's Murray Davidson both had good goalscoring chances
Aberdeen's Cammy Smith and St Johnstone's Murray Davidson both had good goalscoring chances

Nevertheless, the Dons took the game to their Perth opponents when Michael Hector directed a header and a low 20-yard shot narrowly wide.

The on-loan Reading defender found himself occupying a central midfield position, helping fill the void left by the injured Barry Robson, Willo Flood and Jonny Hayes.

Wylde also sought to make a big impression in his first start for Aberdeen; his left-footed volley from a Mark Reynolds delivery had to be well saved by the diving St Johnstone goalkeeper Banks.

Saints captain Dave Mackay had already scored a belter of a free-kick this season against Ross County, and he nearly made it another with a rising set-piece tipped over by Jamie Langfield in the hosts' goalmouth.

Langfield also had to be on his toes to deny Wotherspoon after good skill and set-up play by St Johnstone's Dutch forward Nigel Hasselbaink, who had earlier been booked for simulation.

At the start of the second half, both Josh Magennis and Smith tested Banks while visiting midfielder Murray Davidson would have been disappointed to send a Hasselbaink cut-back flying over from eight yards.

The head of Magennis then set-up McGinn brilliantly for a volley the Northern Irishman smashed against the crossbar, before Banks tipped the former Celtic player's curled effort round the post minutes later.

Saints' Wotherspoon cleared a late Russell Anderson header off the line but referee Steven McLean had already blown for an infringement.