A second half siege from the Dons failed to break the deadlock as St Johnstone managed to dig out a goalless draw at a sodden Pittodrie.
After the 1-1 draw with HJK Helsinki in the UEFA Conference League on Thursday night, Barry Robson made two changes to his starting XI. Connor Barron and Jonny Hayes came into the team with Leighton Clarkson and Jack MacKenzie staring on the bench, where there was also a place for Vicente Besuijen.
There was one change for St Johnstone after the 1-1 home draw with Livingston last weekend, Daniel Phillips replaced by Matt Smith.
On a pitch battered by the weekend’s rain, St Johnstone made a rapid start, Jephcott latching onto a loose ball 25 yards and skimming a vicious shot just over the bar.
Barron had to be sharp on eight minutes, coming across to snuff out a dangerous St Johnstone move, the opposition looking to start quickly and take advantage of any sluggishness in the Dons after Thursday night’s exertions.
Aberdeen’s first attempt came from a free-kick on 10 minutes, Duk unleashing a 25 yarder that was straight at Mitov, but the goalkeeper fumbled his catch before mopping up, the damp ball resembling a bar of soap.
The game stopped on 19 minutes as Slobodan Rubezic headed the back of Costelloe’s head as they challenged for a ball, the Aberdeen man looked after by the medical staff before continuing.
St Johnstone were looking the most likely to find a goal, playing it long and turning the Dons defence, Carey having two efforts that flashed over the bar just before the half hour mark. Another ball over the top had Costelloe on the charge, Kelle Roos ushering the ball behind as it skidded off the turf in the 32nd minute.
Saints were edging closer to a goal, a break on 43 allowing them to find Jephcott in space on the corner of the box, Richard Jensen getting an important defection to send it wide. From the corner, the cross found Carey coming in wide on the left on the penalty area, but he slashed at the ball and ballooned it over the bar.
From nowhere, 30 seconds into added time, it seemed Aberdeen were in front. The Dons recycled a corner back to Barron on the right touchline. His curling ball in was begging for a decisive touch and under pressure from Duk, Considine headed into his own net. There was a lengthy VAR check for offside, the referee going to take a look at the monitor and, four minutes on, it was back to 0-0.
HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 0 ST JOHNSTONE 0
Aberdeen continued to press at the start of the second half, Stefan Gartenmann’s long throw headed out to the edge of the box, Jamie McGrath scooping his volley into the crowd.
Jensen should have had his first Aberdeen goal on 53. From a central free-kick 40 yards out, Hayes swept the ball wide to Barron who hooked a first time cross into the six yard box, Jensen not quite able to get the finishing touch as he bore down on Mitov before wheeling away in frustration. Clarkson and Dante Polvara replaced McGrath and Graeme Shinnie on 56 minutes.
Duk intercepted a loose ball in midfield on 64 minutes, combining with Clarkson to get Miovski away, but Saints were able to scramble the ball clear. Jephcott made way for Kane a minute later. Duk and Clarkson worked together again on 68 minutes, a dangerous cross going begging, but at least the Dons were going through the gears now.
Saints were still a threat though, Kelle Roos having to be fast off his line to beat Costelloe to a through ball in the 70th minute. Up the other end as the game opened up, Barron finding a lovely pass into Miovski. His touch was good to create space for himself, but his shot from around the penalty box was just inches too high. Kucheryavyi was replaced by MacPherson for the visitors on 73.
There were calls for a penalty as Duk tangled with Gordon on the corner of the box a minute later, but the referee, and VAR, remained unmoved. Wright became the first man to be booked on 76 minutes, complaining too loudly after MacPherson’s shove on Clarkson. Clarkson buried the free-kick into the wall, Hayes lashing the rebound wide.
Saints’ third change came on 78 minutes, Wright replaced by May, Aberdeen responding with the introduction of Ester Sokler two minutes later as Nicky Devlin made way. His first action was to be hacked down by Robinson, who was booked.
Hayes accelerated away down the left on 82 minutes, Carey appearing to put the ball behind with his upper arm. We awaited a VAR check for a penalty which ruled no penalty. From the corner, Gartenmann won the ball at the back post and looped the ball back across goal to Duk who, from a handful of yards out, saw Mitov make a fine save, albeit from a tight angle.
Miovski looked to have opened the scoring on 89 minutes, Considine’s defensive header looping up in the area. Miovski produced an overhead kick that looked on target, but it thumped off Mitov and away behind, not that the goalkeeper knew much about it.
In the fifth minute of added time, a long ball into the box from Barron bounced up and over the defence, but Sokler, darting in behind them, couldn’t get his head on it as the ball bounced through to Mitov.
A minute later, Hayes’ free-kick from wide on the left, 40 yards out, found Miovski on the edge of the six yard area, but his header drifted beyond the post and behind. That was the final chance gone begging.
2+4 minutes added at end 1st half
5+1 minutes added at end 2nd half