Aberdeen 0 - 0 Kilmarnock: Kris Boyd sent off in stalemate

All the pre-match talk focused on Greg Stewart but it was very much in keeping with this disappointing spectacle that it was Kris Boyd who dominated the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Referee Nick Walsh shows Kilmarnock's Kris Boyd a red card after a late challenge on Aberdeen's Graeme Shinnie. Pic: SNS/Ross Parker
Referee Nick Walsh shows Kilmarnock's Kris Boyd a red card after a late challenge on Aberdeen's Graeme Shinnie. Pic: SNS/Ross Parker

Kilmarnock’s veteran striker received a straight red card nine minutes from the end of the match for a challenge on Graeme Shinnie that everyone except referee Nick Walsh seemed to think only merited yellow.​

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Certainly both Steve Clarke and Derek McInnes thought the decision was harsh on the former Rangers and Scotland international, but the Rugby Park club’s manager will have another look at television pictures before deciding whether or not to appeal.​

To be fair, the incident provided one of the few talking points during a largely sterile 90 minutes between teams who continue to talk down their chances of mounting a serious title challenge, probably sensibly.​

Kilmarnock should certainly be happier with the draw, especially given their recent history in this fixture as this was only the fifth point they’ve picked up in 20 meetings since Derek McInnes took charge at Pittodrie.​

The visitors actually enjoyed more possession in the search for a second win in the Granite City this season but Eamonn Brophy and Jordan Jones, the goalscorers in their midweek victory over Rangers, were so ineffective that neither lasted the match.​

Not that they were alone in their impotence as not one Kilmarnock player had a shot at goal in the entire afternoon but Clarke believes there were legitimate reasons for that.

He said:“Defensively we were solid but we lacked a bit of energy going forward, as a consequence of the effort we put in against Rangers.​

“When I did try to change it up front, Kris got sent off and that scuppered the plan. It was a tough game. It wasn’t high quality, it was scrappy. Maybe it was because both teams had to play three games in a week after a winter shutdown.​

“But it’s been a good week for us when we sit back and reflect. We’ve got four points against two teams in the top four so that’s satisfying. It’s another point towards our next objective which is securing a top-six spot before the split.”​

By contrast Aberdeen did at least muster three efforts on target, although only one of which was at all troublesome for Daniel Bachmann when the goalkeeper, on loan from Watford, had to move sharply to his left to push Stevie May’s curling 25 yard shot away.​

That came after a turgid opening 39 minutes when Max Lowe’s penetrating run finally opened up an otherwise well-disciplined defence, although his former team-mate did induce one or two moments of anxiety.​

Predictably Stewart faced a barrage of abuse from the travelling supporters every time he touched the ball after his controversial loan switch to Aberdeen from the Kilmarnock side he was so impressive during the first half of the season.​

His first attempt in 43 minutes was comfortably saved but just after the interval he intelligently created space at the edge of the penalty area before bending a shot narrowly wide of the far post.​

The game’s tempo eventually went up a notch, the challenges and number of bookings increased until Boyd suffered the ultimate sanction after just 21 minutes on the pitch.​

There was only one troublesome moment for the visitors after that though, when Aberdeen substitute Niall McGinn tumbled into the box following an incident with Scott Boyd.

However, the contact looked minimal to say the least as well as being just outside the area.​

The only real concern for McInnes, aside from slipping five points behind Celtic but above Rangers into third place in the table, was an injury to Scott McKenna who limped off with another hamstring problem.​

“He has got a bit of tightness in his hamstring but I don’t think it is as bad as it was when he had to come off against Rangers here,” said a relieved McInnes. “I imagine he will be out on Tuesday and a doubt for the next few games but it doesn’t seem to be as bad as his previous injury.”