Fraser Hornby provides the striking presence required for Aberdeen as Florian Kamberi's struggles continue
There was no flash of lightning, no roll of thunder, nothing to suggest something of significance had taken place. Just steel grey skies threatening unseasonal blizzards as Jonny Hayes tucked in Aberdeen’s first league goal since Callum Hendry headed in the winner against Kilmarnock as long ago as February.
Aberdeen fans watching on Red TV leapt up, as did a dark-haired Dundonian with a slight American twang who presumably watched while perched on the end of his hotel room bed as he continued to serve his quarantine period.
Paul Sheerin succeeded in his objective of presenting the incoming Stephen Glass with the three points that mean Aberdeen are still in the running for third place. Sheerin has already bequeathed a Scottish Cup fourth round place against Livingston. There is still much to play for this season under Glass, never mind next season when the cavalry arrives in the form of Scott Brown and others.
Leigh Griffiths has been linked with Aberdeen and how they need someone with such an innate knack for scoring goals, even if they did at least manage one here. The evergreen Hayes became the first permanent Aberdeen player to score for the side since Andrew Considine struck the second in a 2-0 win over Motherwell in January. Hendry, the only other player to score in this bleak spell, is on loan from St Johnstone and so was absent here.
Aberdeen took full advantage of the hosts’ failure to make the most of the pressure they enjoyed in the opening half, when the opposition were all at sea.
Sheerin’s side lost nearly all the 50-50 battles and looked as abject as at any time in recent weeks. Florian Kamberi’s struggles in a red shirt have become almost painful to observe and he did not survive the half-time interval in what was his eighth goalless Aberdeen appearance since arriving on loan from St Gallen.
Fraser Hornby replaced the former Hibs striker and the sudden improvement in the Pittodrie side’s fortunes was more than just coincidence. Hornby should have augmented a bright display with a goal but he headed Niall McGinn’s cross into the side-netting after 69 minutes.
How St Johnstone rued their inability to make the breakthrough in the opening 45 minutes, particularly when Chris Kane blazed over from the edge of the six-yard box. Aberdeen struggled to contain a rampant St Johnstone although the hosts' domination came with limited actual goal threat.
Joe Lewis was not called on to make a save of consequence until late on when he blocked from Ali McCann. Shaun Rooney also saw a header crash off the bar. It had become slightly desperate by then from St Johnstone, who were trailing from seven minutes after half time after Kennedy’s defence splitting pass. Despite Rooney looking to have saved the day for the home side with a diving tackle, Hayes gathered the ball and slipped it past Clark.
It was an impressive finish from the Irishman, who was employed in a more orthodox attacking role on the left flank. It takes him into third equal place in the Aberdeen scoring charts for the season with three goals.
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