Scottish Premiership
LivingstonLivingston1AberdeenAberdeen2

Livingston 1-2 Aberdeen: Dons strike late to keep pace at top

By Jonathan SutherlandBBC Scotland at Tony Macaroni Arena

Aberdeen eked out a late victory at Livingston to ensure the Scottish Premiership's top four are split by just three points going into the winter break.

Derek McInnes' side earned a sixth win in eight games thanks to a James Wilson finish and Dean Campbell deflection.

The hosts pulled one back when Andrew Considine's clearance deflected in off Ryan Hardie.

But Aberdeen hung on to move within three points of leaders Celtic.

It is now four successive away wins for the Pittodrie side and signals an end to Livingston's run of three successive home victories.

Frustration turns to jubilation

Both sides matched up with 3-4-3 formations, but despite the attacking intent, there were only a handful of early efforts on goal.

Aberdeen's Stevie May curled an effort just over, while Aberdeen goalkeeper Joe Lewis pulled off an incredible save from a Craig Halkett header.

There were then two penalty claims in the space of a minute for Bruce Anderson. First, he went down after a coming together with Livingston goalkeeper Liam Kelly and then - seconds later - another with Stevie Lawless that left the Aberdeen forward flat on the artificial turf.

Aberdeen were more dangerous after the break and May was off target three times before the frustration of the large travelling support turned to jubilation with 20 minutes to play.

Stephen Gleeson fired a low ball into the penalty area and fellow substitute Wilson was there to direct it into the bottom corner.

The day would get even better for the on-loan Manchester United striker, who drove at the Livingston defence and fired the ball across goal and, as Halkett attempted to clear under pressure from Campbell, it struck team-mate Lawson and crossed the line off the 17-year-old midfielder's chest for his first Aberdeen goal.

Livingston would hit back almost immediately when Considine had two attempted clearances blocked and the second went in off Hardie for the striker's fifth goal in five games.

Aberdeen's winner was a scrappy one, deflected in off Dean Campbell
Aberdeen's winner was a scrappy one, deflected in off Dean Campbell

'Welcome break after happy 2018' - analysis

This was the culmination of a very busy month for both sides. Despite the gruelling schedules, there was absolutely no lack of energy, both teams threw everything at ending 2018 with a win.

They can look back with satisfaction on their respective seasons so far as the January transfer window looms.

It will be interesting to see if Livingston can do a deal to keep Hardie on loan from Rangers. As for Aberdeen, will they be in the market for another striker?

For both sides, sunnier climes now beckon. Aberdeen are off to Dubai, while Livingston will do their winter training camp in Portugal.

'Aberdeen were clinical' - reaction

Livingston manager Gary Holt: "I've told the lads 'get the heads up'. It's a phenomenal start we have had and don't be too disappointed. I can't fault what they have given me day in, day out.

"Aberdeen were clinical when they got their chances, but the players have been phenomenal and have enjoyed their time playing at this level."

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes: "It's well documented how hard it is to come here and win.

"I need to mention the support today. 3,800 Aberdeen fans - that is the support of a big club with a big demand who are excited by where we are in the league and it's all very tight up there."

Line-ups

Livingston

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Kelly
  • 31Gallagher
  • 26Halkett
  • 4Lithgow
  • 15LawlessSubstituted forLawsonat 78'minutes
  • 8Pittman
  • 6Byrne
  • 10Sibbald
  • 45MengaSubstituted forHamiltonat 73'minutes
  • 9Hardie
  • 18MillerSubstituted forCaddenat 38'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2McMillan
  • 5Saunders
  • 11Cadden
  • 21Stewart
  • 25van Schaik
  • 30Hamilton
  • 33Lawson

Aberdeen

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Lewis
  • 2LoganSubstituted forGleesonat 30'minutes
  • 21Ball
  • 5McKenna
  • 4Considine
  • 17May
  • 15WrightSubstituted forCampbellat 79'minutes
  • 3Shinnie
  • 27McLennan
  • 25AndersonSubstituted forWilsonat 61'minutes
  • 16Cosgrove

Substitutes

  • 7Forrester
  • 8Gleeson
  • 9Wilson
  • 20Cerny
  • 24Campbell
  • 33Ross
  • 34Virtanen
Referee:
Steven McLean
Attendance:
5,548

Match Stats

Home TeamLivingstonAway TeamAberdeen
Possession
Home46%
Away54%
Shots
Home7
Away12
Shots on Target
Home2
Away4
Corners
Home5
Away6
Fouls
Home16
Away11

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Livingston 1, Aberdeen 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Livingston 1, Aberdeen 2.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Craig Sibbald (Livingston) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner.

  4. Post update

    Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Declan Gallagher (Livingston).

  6. Goal!

    Goal! Livingston 1, Aberdeen 2. Ryan Hardie (Livingston) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom right corner.

  7. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jack Hamilton (Livingston) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Livingston. Conceded by Connor McLennan.

  9. Goal!

    Own Goal by Alan Lithgow, Livingston. Livingston 0, Aberdeen 2.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Stevie May (Aberdeen).

  11. Post update

    Shaun Byrne (Livingston) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  12. Post update

    James Wilson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Ryan Hardie (Livingston).

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Aberdeen. Miko Virtanen replaces Scott Wright.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Livingston. Steve Tevi Lawson replaces Steven Lawless.

  16. Post update

    Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Craig Sibbald (Livingston).

  18. Post update

    Attempt saved. Stevie May (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  19. Post update

    James Wilson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Declan Gallagher (Livingston).

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