St Johnstone were dealt a blow with the news that Lee Croft was unavailable. The match kicked off in wet and windy conditions, in front of around 16,000 Aberdeen fans.
After a slow start to the game Pawlett burst into the action and was taken down about 25 yards out. Barry Robson took the free kick, his first effort hit the wall but came back to him, his second effort then whistled just past the post.The game though took a while to come to life. On 8 minutes a free kick by Logan was played into the box but the ball went harmlessly through to Mannus. Then a minute later a free kick to St Johnstone from deep was flicked on by Anderson and Langfield gathered. On 12 minutes Flood from distance had a shot charged down. Then Steven May tried some fancy footwork at the edge of the area, Anderson and Reynolds crowded him out.
The game really had not got going but then on 14 minutes Aberdeen took the lead. The Dons put together a lovely slick passing move. The ball was played up to Pawlett who did really well at the edge of the area to play a through ball to McGinn. Niall was one on one with the keeper and he calmly slotted home. Goal for the Dons! The first goal you always felt was going to be so important this afternoon and Aberdeen had got it. For a spell after the goal Aberdeen looked comfortable and it took St Johnstone a while to get going again. Aberdeen looked in control - in truth though it was the only point all afternoon that the Dons looked in control of the game.
On 19 minutes O'Halloran made a good run but his low shot went just wide. Then all of sudden the game burst into life. On 22 minutes Aberdeen missed a golden opportunity. On the break the Dons pace took the Saints defence apart and McGinn put Rooney in the clear. The striker was quite a bit out and Mannus did very well to race off his line and narrow the angle and in the end he made a very good block. Then at the other end a minute later a fantastic save from Langfield. May got the break of the ball in the box but his shot was brilliantly saved by Langfield from close range. On 24 minutes May had another shot, but from a tight angle Jamie made a more comfortable save. The Saints striker though was looking very lively.
On 25 minutes McGinn again put over a very good cross from the right and Jack won the header but he could not get any power on it. On the half hour mark Steven MacLean won the Saints a free kick in a good area. Wotherspoon took it and hit the target but Langfield read it and a difficult save look very comfortable. The Perth side then enjoyed a good little spell and Russell Anderson was forced to make a good tackle on May and then made a good block to stop O'Halloran. The skipper was once again leading by example.
Although St Johnstone were enjoying a lot of possession the Dons defence looked comfortable and Aberdeen looked dangerous on the break. Niall McGinn on 34 minutes put over a really dangerous ball across the face of goal but he could not find a red shirt. On 37 minutes Pawlett on the edge of the area caused havoc once again and he almost set up Rooney but Mannus came off his line to claim it. Then on 40 minutes a good move from the Dons but Logan's cross was too close to Mannus
The last chance of the half fell to May who hit a free kick but he hit it straight at Langfield.
The first half had flown by. Aberdeen had got the early goal like they had in the League Cup semi-final. Similar to the game at Tynecastle Langfield made a vital save and St Johnstone had enjoyed a lot of possession but you always felt the Dons defence were comfortable.The Saints only real tactic was to launch high balls to MacLean.
St Johnstone started the second half very strongly. A minute in a free kick was hammered into the box and flicked on Steven Anderson but Langfield gathered just ahead of May. Langfield's early kick very nearly found McGinn but the Saints defence just about managed to get back and cover.
On 49 minutes Steven Anderson was forced to give away a corner. It was taken short, McGinn made room for himself but fired a shot just over the bar. The Saints defence were very slow to react to the danger. The Dons kept the pressure on and on 51 minutes Rooney almost found Flood in the box and then a great ball in by Pawlett but no one could get on the end of it. All afternoon Aberdeen put some good balls into the box but never got the break of the ball.
Then 56 minutes another golden opportunity for the Dons. Again on the break the pace of McGinn caused problems. Rooney also made a great run to take defenders with him and when Pawlett came up in support he was unmarked. Niall managed to find him and it looked like he would score but instead of hitting the shot first time he took a touch which allowed Anderson to get back and block his shot. Very good defending but he really should have scored. Then at the other end more good defending. May got the better of Anderson. He took the ball wide and his cross on the run looked dangerous but Considine did very well to cut out the ball as MacLean was about to pounce.
On 59 minutes Logan was forced to give away a corner after a dangerous ball came right across the face of goal. At the time you did wonder though if it was needless corner to give away. The ball came over and although they Dons cleared the initial ball Robson lost out at the edge of the area. May was unmarked and he clinically moved the ball away from his body and hit a shot early across Langfield into the net. Deadly finishing but a poor goal from the Dons point of view. It was only a matter of time before the Saints got the break of the ball in the box.
The Dons were in a bit of shock and a minute later Langfield made another excellent save to stop May getting a second. He took a bang on his head from MacLean for his troubles.
Back came the Dons though and on 65 minutes another unbelievably good chance to score. Flood appeared out on the right and his cross found Robson. From point blank his header was saved by Mannus. You have to say it was a good save, but the header was straight at the keeper. Either side of him it was a goal. It was real end to end stuff now and a proper cup semi final. On 70 minutes a great tackle by Anderson on MacLean after a dangerous cross from the left. Then on 71 another golden opportunity for the Dons.Robson picked the ball up over on the right. He had time to look up and he curled a delightful ball in for McGinn who rose up and planted a header goalwards, it looked a certain goal but the ball just went past the post with Mannus routed to the spot.
The Dons would pay for those misses.
Aberdeen were looking the better team now and the Saints players looked out of their feet. They had put a lot of effort into getting back into the game and it was maybe beginning to tell. Flood put a great ball over from the right but there were no takers and then a ball over from the left bounced off a Saints defender and away from Niall. Desperate defending.
But to their credit back came St Johnstone.
On 78 minutes another long ball and May and MacLean combined but May blasted over. A warning though and five minutes later the same two players combined to put St Johnstone ahead. MacLean played in May who fired a shot past Langfield. Again the striker hit the ball early to give the keeper absolutely no chance. Aberdeen tried to get back into the game. Scott Vernon replaced Andrew Considine as they went for broke but the Dons lost their shape a bit and were unable to put any pressure on Mannus.
A hugely disappointing afternoon at Ibrox. This one will hurt for a long time. As expected St Johnstone had proved to be tough opposition but Aberdeen had the chances to win it, however they failed to take them.