Scottish Premiership
Aberdeen4St Johnstone1

Aberdeen 4-1 St Johnstone

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Highlights: Aberdeen 4-1 St Johnstone

Aberdeen moved level on points with second-placed Rangers after comfortably beating St Johnstone at Pittodrie.

Ryan Christie rounded Saints goalkeeper Alan Mannus to slot home the first, then turned provider when he slipped through Stevie May to score.

Greg Stewart tapped in Shay Logan's goal-bound effort to make it three, before Matty Willock nodded in a St Johnstone consolation.

Stewart got his second of the day when he hammered a shot into the far corner.

The first 35 minutes were largely forgettable as both teams struggled to make even the most simple of passes on the terrible Pittodrie playing surface.

Joe Lewis was back in goal for Aberdeen for the first time since being carried off with a knee injury in the defeat at Ibrox in January and he couldn't have wished for an easier return.

May set up Christie with an intelligent run down the right, the on-loan Celtic midfielder curling a delightful shot from the edge of the penalty area narrowly wide of the far post.

However, his eighth goal of the season certainly sparked Aberdeen and the game into life.

Gary Mackay-Steven beat a square looking St Johnstone defence with a pass that also beat their offside trap, and Christie showed a composure out of kilter with what had gone before to round Mannus before scoring.

It had a transforming influence on Derek McInnes' side as all of a sudden they started to play the sort of attacking football that has largely characterised their performances again this season.

Pace, movement and link-up play pulled the Perth side apart in the remaining 10 minutes of the half with only a marvellous reaction save by Mannus denying Christie a second goal.

Aberdeen's Greg Stewart knocks in his first goal of the afternoon
Aberdeen's Greg Stewart knocks in his first goal of the afternoon

May headed Graeme Shinnie's cross against the bar and the goalkeeper clawed the ball away when it looked like Christie would send the rebound soaring into the net, but the respite was only short lived.

Christie's pass allowed May to score his fifth goal of the season with an adroit finish. Of course his first since November just had to be against his old club.

Aberdeen had only scored two goals from open play in their previous six matches but they quickly surpassed that in the space of 16 minutes.

Mackay-Steven and Shinnie opened them up down the left, the latter's cross was headed goalward by Logan and Stewart made sure by forcing the ball into the net from point-blank-range.

The afternoon got worse for the visitors when half-time substitute Blair Alston was taken off injured just eight minutes after coming on to be replaced by Richard Foster.

They did at least score a first goal of the season in three attempts against Aberdeen when Willock, on loan from Manchester United, headed in Liam Craig's corner.

Scant consolation though as the Perth club are now certain to finish in the bottom six for the first time in seven years and their dismal day was complete when Stewart hammered in the fourth.

That is a real boost for Aberdeen who can move three points clear of second placed Rangers if they win at Fir Park on Tuesday.

Post-match reaction

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes: "On a difficult surface and in difficult conditions I thought the quality of our front play in particular was really pleasing.

"You can easily say 'just make it a fighting game' but the responsibility of (Graeme) Shinnie and (Kenny) McLean to get on the ball and feed the front four was great.

"All of the front four played their part as we have been asking and demanding a bit more from them recently so it was pleasing to score four goals.

"The only disappointing thing was that we didn't get another clean sheet but I can't be too unhappy with how things went today."

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright: "It's probably the worst pitch in the league at the minute and we picked a team to deal with the conditions and I thought up until the goal we were the better team without working their goalkeeper.

"We forced more corners and got into good positions but our decision making was poor and quality was poor then we got caught on the counter attack.

"They didn't have to do a lot for their first two goals which is the frustrating thing and the game was taken away from us too easily.

"I think that sums up why we will end up in the bottom six this season as that performance typifies us in terms of things like decision making as when you make mistakes good sides will punish you."

Line-ups

Aberdeen

  • 1Lewis
  • 2Logan
  • 5O'Connor
  • 19McKennaSubstituted forReynoldsat 66'minutes
  • 4Considine
  • 7McLean
  • 3Shinnie
  • 8Stewart
  • 22Christie
  • 11Mackay-StevenSubstituted forBallat 77'minutes
  • 83MaySubstituted forRooneyat 85'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Reynolds
  • 9Rooney
  • 10Maynard
  • 14Arnason
  • 15Wright
  • 18Ball
  • 30Woodman

St Johnstone

  • 1Mannus
  • 5Shaughnessy
  • 15Kerr
  • 6AndersonBooked at 65mins
  • 3Tanser
  • 17Johnstone
  • 7MillarSubstituted forWillockat 45'minutes
  • 8DavidsonBooked at 19minsSubstituted forAlstonat 45'minutesSubstituted forFosterat 54'minutes
  • 26Craig
  • 10Wotherspoon
  • 25Kane

Substitutes

  • 4Alston
  • 9MacLean
  • 19Foster
  • 20McClean
  • 23Gordon
  • 28Willock
  • 30Hurst
Referee:
Bobby Madden
Attendance:
14,161

Match Stats

Home TeamAberdeenAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home60%
Away40%
Shots
Home15
Away7
Shots on Target
Home9
Away1
Corners
Home5
Away4
Fouls
Home8
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, Aberdeen 4, St. Johnstone 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Aberdeen 4, St. Johnstone 1.

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

Attempt saved. Andrew Considine (Aberdeen) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Greg Stewart (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Joe Shaughnessy (St. Johnstone).

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. Adam Rooney replaces Stevie May.

Shaleum Logan (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone).

Goal!

Goal! Aberdeen 4, St. Johnstone 1. Greg Stewart (Aberdeen) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Graeme Shinnie.

Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Richard Foster (St. Johnstone).

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. Dominic Ball replaces Gary Mackay-Steven.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Steven Anderson.

Attempt blocked. Ryan Christie (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

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

Foul by Jason Kerr (St. Johnstone).

Foul by Andrew Considine (Aberdeen).

Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Graeme Shinnie.

Goal!

Goal! Aberdeen 3, St. Johnstone 1. Matty Willock (St. Johnstone) header from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Liam Craig following a corner.

Attempt blocked. Denny Johnstone (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Foul by Andrew Considine (Aberdeen).

Matty Willock (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. Mark Reynolds replaces Scott McKenna.

Attempt saved. Andrew Considine (Aberdeen) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Attempt blocked. Stevie May (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Booking

Steven Anderson (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

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

Foul by Steven Anderson (St. Johnstone).

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Alan Mannus.

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

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Joe Shaughnessy.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Jason Kerr.

Anthony O'Connor (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone).

Shaleum Logan (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone).

Attempt missed. Scott Tanser (St. Johnstone) left footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

Foul by Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic31218262204271
2Rangers32185963382559
3Aberdeen31185848341459
4Hibernian311510645331255
5Kilmarnock31131084238449
6Hearts31101293229342
7Motherwell31107143641-537
8St Johnstone32107153247-1537
9Hamilton3086164053-1330
10Dundee3084183048-1828
11Partick Thistle3167182652-2625
12Ross County3157193356-2322
View full Scottish Premiership table

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