St Johnstone 1 - 1 Aberdeen: Niall McGinn ensures Dons earn draw

Having felt hard done by in games prior to the international break, Aberdeen had to put in the hard yards and mount a relentless second half barrage to retrieve a point from this game.
Niall McGinn scores Aberdeen's equaliser. Pic: SNS/Craig FoyNiall McGinn scores Aberdeen's equaliser. Pic: SNS/Craig Foy
Niall McGinn scores Aberdeen's equaliser. Pic: SNS/Craig Foy

Insipid and lacking a cutting edge, they were out witted by the home side in the opening 45 minutes, but a stunning free kick from Niall McGinn drew the scores level and ensured this was a gripping contest to the end.

With the shots raining in on St Johnstone goalkeeper Zander Clark as the Pittodrie side rediscovered their fire after the break Derek McInnes might have felt his side could have emerged with all three points.

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He said: “I’m not sure we should have got the win, but I thought we played with a lot more aggression and intent in the second half. The onus was on us having gone a goal down and we gave ourselves a chance to win – whether we deserved it is up for debate.”

For all that, however, there is no doubt that St Johnstone deserved their advantage at the interval. There may have been question marks over how Tommy Wright would fare in trying to reshape and remodel his squad, but the signs so far with completely revamped attacking options offered by Tony Watt, Drey Wright and Matty Kennedy, are more than promising.

Although their opportunities may have been distinctly rationed at times the Perth side carried the greater threat early on. A nicely worked corner routine saw Liam Craig’s set piece bulleted into the net by David McMillan after he had peeled away from his marker on the 14th-minute mark.

The hosts nearly extended their lead as a clever move saw Wright cut in from the right and his tempting low cross was almost diverted into his own net by Andrew Considine.

For all their hurry and scurry Aberdeen created little with their best chances coming the way of former Saints talisman Stevie May, who seemed suitably fired-up to make an impression .

Thankfully for the travelling support the transformation in just about every aspect of their side’s play after the break was so stark it was almost off the scale. They set up something of a siege for 20 minutes or so as Clark performed heroics in denying efforts from Gary Mackay-Steven and Sam Cosgrove. The former also saw a ferocious effort deflected wide by the head of Jason Kerr.

The levee had to break and fittingly it was McGinn, whose more adventurous play had stood out after the restart, that got the equaliser from one of those majestically struck free kicks that have become his trademark.

It seemed that the Dons were odds-on to be the side that might emerge from this entertaining scrap with all three points, but the intensity of their play slackened off a few notches. It was enough for the hosts to regain their shape and hold on to a point.

“We had to work hard for it,” said Wright. “It’s a good point against a good side.”