Kilmarnock threw away a two-goal lead against their bogey team to miss out on the opportunity to put pressure on sixth-placed Hibs while in spite of their fightback, Derek McInnes’ side are now three points behind Motherwell.
Aberdeen were a goal down with only one minute of extra time remaining but still managed to eliminate the Ayrshire club from the Scottish Cup without having top resort to a penalty shoot-out when they met here two weeks ago
There were seven goals in that game and no-one could have felt short-changed in the entertainment department following a compelling first half.
Kilmarnock were first out of the blocks and were utterly dominant for the opening half hour. Dons goalkeeper Joe Lewis made fine saves to deny Rory McKenzie and Eamonn Brophy, while the latter saw another shot rebound to safety from the post.
A goal was coming, though, and the hosts thoroughly merited their lead when it arrived. Brophy unselfishly pulled the ball back from a promising position for McKenzie, whose drive came off Ash Taylor’s arm.
The Scotland striker sent Lewis to his left and the ball to his right from the resultant spot-kick for his 10th goal of the season and the home side quickly found themselves two ahead when Stuart Findlay broke out of defence and released Greg Kiltie, who cut inside before wrong-footing Lewis with a dipping shot from the edge of the penalty area. It was the midfielder’s first Premiership goal since April, 2016.
Aberdeen had struggled to gain a foothold in their opponents’ half but the halved the deficit with a fine goal in their first decent offensive move. McLennan claimed the assist with a driven cross but it required a composed finish from Niall McGinn.
It was a pivotal moment. Previously bereft of ideas and confidence, the Dons rediscovered their swagger and drew level just five minutes into the second half.
Winger Matty Kennedy, who left Kilmarnock for Everton eight years ago. Claimed the assist with a cross to the far post which picked out McLennan, who stopped to head home from a yard out.
Goalmouth incidents continued apace. Curtis Main was wasteful with a free header while Lewis made a superb reflex save to turn over Stephen O’Donnell’s netbound volley.
Kilmarnock had regained the upper hand by then. Lewis Ferguson and Shay Logan were cautioned for professional fouls and Lewis again came to Aberdeen’s rescue, diving to his left to beat away a Brophy free-kick.
McLennan picked up a needless booking for dissent and should have walked when he took the legs from Kiltie on the dge of the penalty area. Aberdeen underlined referee Alan Newlands’ error by immediately replacing him with Bruce Anderson.