Scottish Premiership
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Aberdeen 2-1 Livingston: Derek McInnes' side stay fourth

By Stefan Bienkowski BBC Sport Scotland

Aberdeen stayed fourth in the Scottish Premiership after inflicting a first defeat in six games for Livingston.

Connor McLennan's first goal of the season opened the scoring, the winger bundling home following a counter-attack in the first half.

Bruce Anderson then confirmed the points with a second-half finish.

Gary Holt's side grabbed a late consolation goal through Lyndon Dykes' 10th of the season, as they stayed in seventh place.

Aberdeen win festive skirmish

Holt brought Livingston to Aberdeen on Christmas Day to ensure they were properly prepared, but in the early stages it seemed as though both sides had enjoyed the festivities a little too much.

Players huffed and puffed across the park, with the only moment of genuine ingenuity the passage of play that put the hosts in front after 13 uneventful minutes.

Niall McGinn played Lewis Ferguson through into yards of space in the middle of the pitch then, as Livingston's defence amassed around him, he laid the ball off for McLennan to tap home.

Livingston had by no means looked devoid of ideas but they - like Aberdeen for much of the half - lacked the sharpness in the final third to turn a lot of running and tackling into genuine chances.

Holt's side could have levelled just before the break when Scott Pittman was played through, but the on-rushing Joe Lewis managed to get enough on the midfielder's right-footed shot to turn it away.

Livingston hadn't looked like a side who were undefeated in their last five games. Aberdeen, without suspended star striker Sam Cosgrove, were perhaps doing as well as could be expected.

McInnes' side had lost just one of their nine home league games prior to this and, as the second half marched on, it became clear that the hosts were settling into a comfortable routine.

They soaked up pressure then continued to break on the counter through the pace and skill of McLennan and McGinn.

Indeed, McGinn came close to doubling the lead just after the hour when McLennan poked the ball through to him, but the winger couldn't bend the ball in.

Six minutes later, the duo again linked up to cause more havoc. This time McGinn fired a shot from the right, only to then watch it deflect into the air where McLennan headed towards goal. A lunging save from Matija Sarkic stopped it.

McInnes brought on Anderson and, as the game stuttered to a conclusion, the 21-year-old striker alleviated any nervousness among the home fans when he latched on to the end of a through ball and curled into the far corner of the net.

Livingston would eventually get their goal - a front-post glancing header from Dykes following an inch-perfect Steven Lawless cross - but Holt's side had left it too late.

McKenna

Man of the match - Lewis Ferguson

BBC Scotland's Tyrone Smith at Pittodrie

It was difficult to pick a man of the match in what was a pretty disappointing game. But not for the first time during his Pittodrie career, Lewis Ferguson caught the eye.

It was another tireless performance from Ferguson, who carried plenty of threat at the top end of the park. But he also did the ugly stuff well too, breaking things up in midfield, and helping shield the Aberdeen rearguard from any potential threat.

'I thought we dominated the game' - reaction

Aberdeen assistant manager Tony Docherty: "I thought it was a tough game. They've scored 10 in their last three games so we knew it was going to be difficult. I think moments of quality won the game.

"I'm slightly disappointed we never kept a clean sheet but considering the level of opponent we were playing, another home win means three points that allows us to go in to the next game with confidence."

Livingston manager Gary Holt: "I'm really frustrated. I think the game panned out as we had executed it. We were good at times, especially in the second half. I thought we dominated the game.

"But if you give two poor goals away - two that Aberdeen didn't have to work for - you're fighting an uphill battle. I don't think my keeper had a save to make and we're on the end of a 2-1 defeat again."

Line-ups

Aberdeen

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Lewis
  • 33Vyner
  • 14TaylorBooked at 85mins
  • 5McKenna
  • 2Logan
  • 19Ferguson
  • 22OjoSubstituted forCampbellat 78'minutes
  • 18McLennanSubstituted forAndersonat 67'minutes
  • 11HedgesSubstituted forGallagherat 58'minutes
  • 10McGinn
  • 9Main

Substitutes

  • 6Devlin
  • 20Cerny
  • 21Gallagher
  • 24Campbell
  • 25Anderson
  • 27Ross
  • 28Wilson

Livingston

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 30Sarkic
  • 33Lawson
  • 27Guthrie
  • 5Lamie
  • 29Taylor-Sinclair
  • 6Bartley
  • 10SibbaldSubstituted forErskineat 80'minutes
  • 11Lawless
  • 8Pittman
  • 20SoudaSubstituted forRobinsonat 74'minutes
  • 9Dykes

Substitutes

  • 1Stewart
  • 7Jacobs
  • 14Odoffin
  • 16Crawford
  • 17Robinson
  • 19Erskine
  • 21McMillan
Referee:
Bobby Madden
Attendance:
14,518

Match Stats

Home TeamAberdeenAway TeamLivingston
Possession
Home48%
Away52%
Shots
Home11
Away6
Shots on Target
Home4
Away2
Corners
Home6
Away4
Fouls
Home12
Away10

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Aberdeen 2, Livingston 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Aberdeen 2, Livingston 1.

  3. Post update

    Offside, Aberdeen. Jon Gallagher tries a through ball, but Lewis Ferguson is caught offside.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Jon Guthrie.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Chris Erskine (Livingston).

  6. Post update

    Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  7. Post update

    Steve Tevi Lawson (Livingston) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen).

  9. Post update

    Ricki Lamie (Livingston) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Curtis Main (Aberdeen).

  11. Goal!

    Goal! Aberdeen 2, Livingston 1. Lyndon Dykes (Livingston) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Steven Lawless with a cross.

  12. Booking

    Ash Taylor (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  13. Post update

    Lyndon Dykes (Livingston) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Ash Taylor (Aberdeen).

  15. Post update

    Scott Pittman (Livingston) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen).

  17. Goal!

    Goal! Aberdeen 2, Livingston 0. Bruce Anderson (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.

  18. Post update

    Attempt missed. Chris Erskine (Livingston) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Steven Lawless with a cross.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Livingston. Chris Erskine replaces Craig Sibbald.

  20. Post update

    Attempt missed. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Lewis Ferguson.

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