Leighton Clarkson steals Aberdeen show - Liverpool loanee shines and one player could be real deal once up to speed

Leighton Clarkson had already caught the eye at McDiarmid Park before he really caught the eye.

Aberdeen's Leighton Clarkson scores a free kick to make it 1-0 against St Johnstone.
Aberdeen's Leighton Clarkson scores a free kick to make it 1-0 against St Johnstone.

The 20-year-old midfielder, on loan from Liverpool, illuminated a stodgy first-half with a defence splitting pass that left St Johnstone brutally exposed, only for Bojan Miovski to fail to finish the move with the goal it deserved.Clarkson, though, guaranteed the headlines with his second Aberdeen goal that was every bit as glorious as the first that he scored on his debut for the Pittdodrie club against St Mirren earlier this month. A sumptuous free-kick curled into the top corner from what looked to the naked eye to be around the 30-yard mark energised what had been a fairly bland afternoon in Perth. St Johnstone 0, Aberdeen 1. It turned out to be the winner.There was no real surprise that the youngster left the field to a standing ovation from the visiting support for his definitive part in delivering the three points, with Goodwin eager to offer an encouraging word in his ear.It took until Clarkson’s goal for Aberdeen to really find their groove after they started this game with some intent – Miovski’s ‘goal’ in the opening minutes was chopped off in what appeared to be a fairly harsh call – but while the second half was a far more assured display from Goodwin’s side, the profligacy of Aberdeen could have come back to haunt them.Having dominated the game after the goal, Aberdeen had to reply upon a decent one-handed save from Kelle Roos to deny Jamie Murphy after the veteran winger had weaved his way through the Dons defence and looked odds on to score.Still, Goodwin felt after the game that the scoreline suggested a narrowness of the contest that was not necessarily there. He was right in the sense that Aberdeen had three solid chances in the latter stages of the game that would have lent the afternoon a more comfortable look.Chief among the culprits was new striker Shayden Morris, who twice had big opportunities in the closing stages to endear himself to the visiting support. Having sent one effort wide when he was through on goal and then brought out a save from Remi Matthews in the St Johnstone goal with another attempt, the indications are there that once he is properly match fit he could have something to offer.Certainly Goodwin will feel that with Ross McCrorie also passing up a couple of strong opportunities that his side are moving in the right direction. Given the dozen signings that have been made across the summer and the time it will take to gel, it is inevitable that there will be elements of inconsistency.What was notable was the difference in attitude and application from last weekend’s defeat to Motherwell. Hayden Coulson put in a shift and there was a sense of urgency and cohesion about the performance, particularly in the second period.There will be more testing environments for Aberdeen to play in this season and St Johnstone still look like a team who are shorn of any real conviction and confidence. But it was critical that there was a response to the limpness of last weekend’s display and there will be encouragement from Aberdeen that the players who have arrived at the club since the window opened are capable of stepping up to the plate this season.

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