Aberdeen eased to victory at St Mirren to move level on points with Scottish Premier League leaders Celtic.

Johnny Hayes' sweetly struck shot put the Dons ahead and Niall McGinn's seventh goal in as many league games doubled the lead before the break.

Strikes by Chris Clark and Mark Reynolds extended the visitors' advantage as St Mirren toiled.

Steven Thompson pulled a late goal back for the struggling home side who sustained a fifth straight SPL defeat.

Craig Brown's side join Celtic and Hibernian on 21 points, with the latter two sides playing on Sunday, while St Mirren remain second-bottom.

The Paisley side, missing suspended captain Jim Goodwin, were first to threaten with Gary Teale escaping his man and crossing for Sam Parkin to head just over.

Aberdeen then broke the deadlock with their first attack. Hayes' chipped cross from the edge of the box was cleared straight back to the winger and he buried a half-volley past Craig Samson.

The Buddies almost levelled straight away. Teale's free-kick from the right was met powerfully by stand-in skipper Thompson and goalkeeper Jamie Langfield reacted well to punch the header onto the crossbar.

The same combination - Teale and Thompson - gave the visitors further concern moments later as the big striker glanced a header wide from another telling delivery.

A controlled, angled shot on the run by Josh Magennis was beaten away by Samson but, after enduring more St Mirren pressure, Aberdeen did find the net via a swift counter-attack.

The offside flag stayed down as McGinn received Ryan Fraser's pass and the in-form forward emphatically beat Samson from near the six-yard line.

A defensive mix-up early in the second half gave the Dons the chance for a third as McGinn robbed Marc McAusland and set up Fraser, whose shot was brilliantly saved by Samson.

And, after the resulting corner was cleared, Hayes tested the goalkeeper with a chip.

The home fans claimed in-vain for a penalty after Imrie went to ground in the box following Clark's challenge.

Fraser limped off to be replaced by Scott Vernon following a heavy challenge by McAusland, an incident which provoked a disgruntled reaction from Dons captain Russell Anderson.

St Mirren's chances of staging a comeback all but evaporated when Langfield saved David Van Zanten's terrific strike.

And a break involving McGinn and Vernon opened up the space for Clark to beat Samson with the aid of a slight deflection.

Reynolds soon netted the fourth after moving forward from defence and unleashing a shot from 20 yards.

Danny Lennon's men did register before full-time, Thompson tucking the ball past Langfield at the keeper's near post.

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (6)

St Mirren

  • 01 Samson
  • 02 van Zanten
  • 03 Dummett
  • 05 Mair
  • 14 McAusland Booked
  • 08 Robertson (Reilly - 59' )
  • 17 Mclean
  • 21 Teale
  • 07 Imrie (Carey - 70' )
  • 09 Thompson
  • 19 Parkin (Guy - 68' )

Substitutes

  • 12 Smith
  • 23 Barron
  • 11 Carey
  • 34 Anthony Brady
  • 20 Reilly
  • 27 Guy
  • 29 J McGinn

Aberdeen

  • 01 Langfield
  • 03 Robertson
  • 04 Anderson
  • 06 Considine
  • 22 Reynolds
  • 07 Clark Booked
  • 10 McGinn (McManus - 90' )
  • 11 Hayes
  • 16 Osbourne
  • 20 Fraser (Vernon - 63' )
  • 21 Magennis Booked (Shaughnessy - 90' )

Substitutes

  • 30 Rogers
  • 23 Shaughnessy
  • 24 Brown
  • 09 Vernon
  • 14 Fallon
  • 34 McManus
  • 38 Smith
Ref: Finnie
Att: 4,486

Match Stats

Shots

12 11

On target

5 7

Corners

12 3

Fouls

9 10

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:35 Full time

Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.

90:00 +1:33

Shot from just outside the box by Johnny Hayes goes over the target.

89:46 Substitution

Substitution Declan McManus comes on in place of Niall McGinn.

89:46 Substitution

Substitution Joe Shaughnessy is brought on as a substitute for Josh Magennis.

89:10

Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Graham Carey from the left by-line, Headed effort on goal by Steven Thompson from inside the penalty box misses to the right of the goal.

88:51

Gary Teale takes a shot. Save by Jamie Langfield.

87:42 Goal scored

Goal! - Steven Thompson - St Mirren 1 - 4 Aberdeen Steven Thompson fires in a goal from deep inside the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. St Mirren 1-4 Aberdeen.

86:42 Goal scored

Goal! - Mark Reynolds - St Mirren 0 - 4 Aberdeen Mark Reynolds grabs a goal from just outside the area to the top left corner of the goal. St Mirren 0-4 Aberdeen.

85:13

The assist for the goal came from Scott Vernon.

85:13 Goal scored

Goal! - Chris Clark - St Mirren 0 - 3 Aberdeen Chris Clark fires in a goal from deep inside the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. St Mirren 0-3 Aberdeen.

84:01

Corner taken right-footed by Gary Teale from the right by-line, clearance made by Mark Reynolds.

83:21

Niall McGinn takes a shot. Save made by Craig Samson.

82:04

Shot by David van Zanten. Jamie Langfield makes a save. Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Graham Carey from the left by-line.

79:55

Centre by David van Zanten, Russell Anderson makes a clearance.

78:38

Russell Anderson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Steven Thompson. Lee Mair restarts play with the free kick.

76:25

Long range effort by Kenny McLean goes wide right of the target.

72:54

Free kick awarded for a foul by David van Zanten on Johnny Hayes. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Niall McGinn from left channel, save by Craig Samson.

70:35

Thomas Reilly gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Chris Clark. Josh Magennis fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick, blocked by David van Zanten.

69:24 Substitution

Substitution Graham Carey comes on in place of Dougie Imrie.

69:24

Lewis Guy is caught offside. Russell Anderson restarts play with the free kick.

67:37 Substitution

Substitution Lewis Guy on for Sam Parkin.

67:37

Chris Clark concedes a free kick for a foul on Dougie Imrie. Free kick taken by Lee Mair.

67:09

Effort from 35 yards by Kenny McLean missed to the right of the net.

64:56

Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Gary Teale, clearance by Russell Anderson.

64:25

David van Zanten fouled by Isaac Osbourne, the ref awards a free kick. Craig Samson restarts play with the free kick.

62:38 Substitution

Substitution Ryan Fraser leaves the field to be replaced by Scott Vernon.

58:55

Unfair challenge on Isaac Osbourne by Dougie Imrie results in a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Johnny Hayes from right channel, clearance made by Lee Mair.

57:49 Substitution

Substitution Jon Robertson goes off and Thomas Reilly comes on.

57:49

Foul by Jon Robertson on Johnny Hayes, free kick awarded. Russell Anderson takes the free kick.

54:00

Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Ryan Fraser. Corner from the right by-line taken by Johnny Hayes, Headed effort from inside the area by Russell Anderson misses to the left of the goal.

53:04

Shot by Johnny Hayes from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the target.

52:12

A cross is delivered by Gary Teale, clearance made by Russell Anderson.

50:19

Dougie Imrie is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Russell Anderson.

48:59

Steven Thompson produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the target.

47:42

The ball is swung over by Josh Magennis, save by Craig Samson.

45:50

Josh Magennis concedes a free kick for a foul on Dougie Imrie. Free kick crossed left-footed by Dougie Imrie.

45:01

The referee gets the second half started.

45:00 +1:29 Half time

Half Time The ref blows to end the first period.

45:00 +0:06

Ryan Fraser provided the assist for the goal.

45:00 +0:06 Goal scored

Goal! - Niall McGinn - St Mirren 0 - 2 Aberdeen Goal scored by Niall McGinn from inside the penalty area to the top right corner of the goal. St Mirren 0-2 Aberdeen.

43:58

Free kick crossed right-footed by Gary Teale, clearance by Josh Magennis.

43:58 Booking

Booking Josh Magennis is booked.

43:50

Josh Magennis concedes a free kick for a foul on Paul Dummett.

42:46

David van Zanten concedes a free kick for a foul on Isaac Osbourne. Direct free kick taken by Jamie Langfield.

40:14

Inswinging corner taken by Dougie Imrie.

37:50

The referee blows for offside. Jamie Langfield takes the free kick.

36:46

The referee blows for offside. Mark Reynolds takes the indirect free kick.

33:46

Josh Magennis takes a shot. Save made by Craig Samson. Johnny Hayes takes a corner.

31:18

Corner taken by Dougie Imrie from the right by-line, Russell Anderson manages to make a clearance. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Dougie Imrie, save made by Jamie Langfield.

29:13

Corner taken by Gary Teale played to the near post, Jamie Langfield makes a save.

28:51

Dougie Imrie takes the inswinging corner, Isaac Osbourne makes a clearance.

28:04

The ball is delivered by Dougie Imrie, Josh Magennis gets a block in. Corner taken by Gary Teale from the left by-line, Russell Anderson makes a clearance.

26:18

Free kick awarded for a foul by Jon Robertson on Clark Robertson. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Ryan Fraser from left wing, clearance made by Kenny McLean.

23:54

Shot from just outside the box by Sam Parkin goes over the bar.

20:53

Gary Teale delivers the ball, Steven Thompson has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the target.

19:23

Paul Dummett takes a shot. Russell Anderson gets a block in. Gary Teale takes the inswinging corner, Mark Reynolds makes a clearance.

17:12

Josh Magennis sends in a cross, Ryan Fraser takes a shot. David van Zanten gets a block in.

14:20

Direct free kick taken by Marc McAusland.

14:20 Booking

Booking Chris Clark is shown a yellow card.

14:19

Chris Clark concedes a free kick for a foul on Gary Teale.

13:26 Booking

Booking Marc McAusland receives a caution.

13:00

Ryan Fraser fouled by Marc McAusland, the ref awards a free kick. Isaac Osbourne restarts play with the free kick.

12:32

Johnny Hayes gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jon Robertson. Lee Mair takes the free kick.

10:48

Unfair challenge on David van Zanten by Clark Robertson results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Gary Teale, Steven Thompson takes a shot. Save by Jamie Langfield.

9:19 Goal scored

Goal! - Johnny Hayes - St Mirren 0 - 1 Aberdeen Johnny Hayes scores a goal from just outside the area to the bottom right corner of the goal. St Mirren 0-1 Aberdeen.

8:23

Ryan Fraser fouled by Jon Robertson, the ref awards a free kick. Isaac Osbourne restarts play with the free kick.

6:03

Dougie Imrie takes the inswinging corner, save by Jamie Langfield.

5:21

Josh Magennis concedes a free kick for a foul on Dougie Imrie. Free kick taken by Lee Mair.

3:40

David van Zanten fouled by Ryan Fraser, the ref awards a free kick. Marc McAusland takes the direct free kick.

2:41

A cross is delivered by Gary Teale, Header from close range by Sam Parkin clears the bar.

1:43

Niall McGinn is caught offside. Marc McAusland takes the indirect free kick.

0:45

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Mark Reynolds by Steven Thompson. Direct free kick taken by Jamie Langfield.

0:00

The game kicks-off.

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