Aberdeen and St Johnstone played out a competitive 90 minutes this afternoon at Brechin in the Dons final warm up game ahead of their UEFA Europa League game on Thursday. There were few clear cut chances at either end. The only goal of the game came just after the 70 minute mark when Niall McGinn was brought down in the area. Adam Rooney took the resulting penalty and sent Alan Mannus the wrong way.
New signing Danny Ward came on at half time and the big keeper impressed.
Manager Derek McInnes used to the game to try out a few players in a number of different positions, as well as a few different formations. Former Don Joe Shaughessy lined up at right back for St Johnstone. Aberdeen forced the first corner on 3 minutes. The well worked short corner allowed Hayes space for a cross but the Saints cleared that and the next corner. There were a few very strong challenges going in early on which certainly help give the game a more competitive edge than you would normally see in most pre-season friendlies. On 7 minutes Reynolds back header did not reach Brown which allowed new St Johnstone signing John Sutton to nip between the keeper and defender and Brown was forced to make a very good reflex save. A few minutes later another ball over the top caused problems as Sutton again got in behind Reynolds and when the striker went to ground the Perth side made a strong appeal for a penalty to referee Andrew Dallas but he waved play on.
After a strong challenge by Davidson on 17 minutes Aberdeen won a free kick about 25 yards out. Hayes whipped in a good ball which an unmarked Rooney met but his glancing header went wide. Just before the 20 minute mark a slip by captain Jack let the Saints have a two on one and Lappin and Scobbie should have done better but Quinn managed to intercept. After the 22 minute mark a good break involving Pawlett, McGinn and Considine down the left saw Andrew cut the ball back to Pawlett on the edge of the six yard box. He managed to get a shot away but his effort was blocked. After 33 minutes a Shinnie foul allowed Wotherspoon to curl in a free kick which just went over the bar. After 37 minutes Hayes tried his luck from 30 yards out but Mannus made a comfortable save. Two minutes later Reynolds played a good ball over the top to pick out Shinnie's forward run. Then second later Reynolds put over a good whipped ball which just evaded Rooney and then McGinn. One of them probably should have made contact. On the stroke of half time Considine put over a good ball again from the left which Frazer Wright did very well to deal with.
At half time Danny Ward replaced Scott Brown in goal. The goalkeepers long-time friend Ash Taylor also came on to partner Reynolds and Ryan Jack made way for Willo Flood. On 52 minutes a corner was attacked strongly by Taylor and then Quinn but Mannus did well to challenge on both occasions. On 55 minutes Hayes had a great run down the left but Scobbie did well to come across and cover the danger. On the hour mark Goodwillie replaced Pawlett and played upfront alongside Rooney, also Robson came on for Considine. Shortly after the changes St Johnstone probably should have taken the lead after a goalmouth scramble but Chris Kane scuffed his shot well wide. Quinn then did well to head clear after good play by Shaughnessy down the right as Aberdeen reorganised themselves. Meanwhile keeper Ward was impressing the Red Army. He looked very comfortable with the ball at his feet and he confidently came a long way off his line to claim a number of crosses. The fans were especially impressed when he went well out of his area, chested the ball and then volleyed it clear.
On 67 minutes a long ball by Reynolds again caused problems. Rooney picked it up and hit a strong shot which was on target but Mannus palmed clear. Finally on 71 minutes a goal. Niall McGinn buzzed about the edge of the area and when he went into the box Easton stuck out a leg and Niall went down. Referee Dallas pointed straight to the spot. Adam Rooney stepped forward and put Mannus the wrong way. Even if he had guessed right he would not have got it and the ball was right in the corner. That was Adam's last involvement in the match as he was replaced by Cammy Smith straight after the goal. Both team had made a number of changes by now but Aberdeen were now looking the better team highlighting the strength in depth in the squad this season. They knocked the ball about confidently in the closing stages. On 85 minutes Flood hit a shot just wide from distance before Shankland came on for Quinn. Aberdeen played the final five minutes with a back three as St Johnstone pushed hard for an equaliser. The closest they came was when substitute Thomson tested Ward but the keeper made a difficult save look very easy. McGinn then dinked in a ball for Smith and his outstretched leg forced the ball onto the post but it would not have counted anyway as the flag was up.
St. Johnstone Teamsheet
Mannus, Shaughnessy, McKay, Wright, Easton, Scobbie, Wotherspoon, Davidson, Lappin, O'Halloran, Sutton Subs: Clark, Brown, McLean, Caddis, Kane, Rodgers, McLaren
Aberdeen Teamsheet Brown
60).Unused Subs: Wright, Rose, Storie.
Venue: Glebe Park, Brechin
Referee: Andrew Dallas