Aberdeen gave their fans some Christmas cheer as they defeated St Johnstone by two goals to nil after a superb performance in terrible conditions at Pittodrie. Top scorer Niall McGinn added to his tally for the season with a double as the Dons mastered the conditions much better than the visitors.
There were three changes to the home side from the previous weeks defeat to Kilmarnock. Jamie Langfield missed out after the SFA rejected his red card appeal while Andrew Considine missed out through illness and Johnny Hayes was injured.
The Dons started brightly despite the driving rain and passed the ball about well in the opening stages. After a good break from Mark Reynolds, Mitch Megginson was fouled. ThIs allowed Niall McGinn to send in a fantastic free kick but unfortunately for the Dons none of their players were close enough to get a touch.
On 7 minutes McGinn had site of goal again and unleashed a fantastic shot which Mannus did well to get to. The keeper palmed the ball away but only as far as Magennis who then took a shot straight at Mannus.
The chances kept coming for the home side and McGinn could have scored a short time later but saw his shot saved before Megginson dwelt too long on the rebound and his effort at goal was blocked away by the Saints defence for a corner.
Persistence in midfield from McGinn allowed him to have another effort on goal from 25 yards out- again forcing Mannus to make a save.
It wasn't just the Northern Irishman who had chances. A superb cross from Clark Robertson gave Rory Fallon an opportunity to give his side the lead but he volleyed wide of the target. On 27 minutes Megginson won another corner for his side from which he crossed a superb ball into the box and just when it looked like Fallon would put the Dons into the lead Russell Anderson arrived from nowhere to put the New Zelander off and both players missed the ball. A minute later Fallon had another effort at goal which flew over the cross bar on that occasion.
Despite the waves of attack from the Dons, St Johnstone did have one or two chances and they should have taken the lead when a superb cross in the box fell to Frazer Wright- but he blasted over the bar from close range.
At the other end Shaughnessy had a long range effort that went just wide of the post before the Dons created their best chance of the half. Great play by Robertson released Magennis down the left wing and his cross into the box sat perfectly for McGinn to side foot into the net. Unfortunately for him though Mannus was there to block the effort again!
With 5 minutes of the half remaining, Gavin Rae shot from distance but failed to find the target and Magennis and Fallon both had weak efforts as the first half came to a close.
Despite the conditions showing no sign of improving, the Dons started the second period on top and continued to create chances. McGinn had yet another effort on goal on 55 minutes when he hammered a shot across the St Johnstone goal but to no avail again.
Aberdeen made their first change on 61 minutes when Jamie Masson replaced Mitch Megginson. And seconds later the Dons had the lead that their play deserved. Niall McGinn stepped up to take a free kick outside the box and promptly despatched it into the back of the net past Mannus.
They continued their domination of the game- St Johnstone just couldn't get to grips with the conditions and the home side created several half chances after great deliveries into the box.
It was McGinn who had another chance on 68 minutes- Mannus again saving from the Dons hitman. The Saints goalkeeper, having a great game and keeping the score down, then saved from Jamie Masson when he shot after picking up a poor clearance inside the box.
A superb double save from Magennis then McGinn followed for Mannus as he continued to avert a hammering for his side. McGinn wasn't to be denied though and got his, and his sides, second goal of the game 10 minutes from time when he latched on to a superb through ball from Jamie Masson and slotted home past Mannus under pressure from two visiting defenders. It was a cool finish and rounded off a sublime individual and team performance to the delight of the majority of the 7,051 fans who braved the elements.
The Dons continued to press in the final few minutes as Jordon Brown replaced Josh Magennis on 86 minutes and Craig Murray replaced Rory Fallon in stoppage time. Jordon Brown had an effort at goal just wide of the post before Gregory Tade fired in a shot at the Dons goal which Jason Brown saved comfortably.
An excellent performance from the Dons who coped admirably with the conditions and now look forward to a vital few games over a hectic festive period.