St Johnstone 0-2 Aberdeen

Aberdeen got their league campaign back on track with a comfortable win over an off colour St Johnstone.

Peter Pawlett opened the scoring with a low drive from the edge of the box as the visitors dominated.

Saints were reduced in numbers in the second half when substitute Rory Fallon was sent off for a challenge with Dons' Michael Hector, just one minute after coming on.

Niall McGinn's solo run and wonderful finish made sure of the points.

So it was Aberdeen, then, who got the upper hand in what could be seen as a dress rehearsal for the sides' League Cup semi-final in February.

Watching proceedings was the former St Johnstone striker and Aberdeen boss Sir Alex Ferguson who was invited back by the Perth club, 50 years on from his famous Saints hat-trick against Rangers.

Another with connections to both clubs is current Pittodrie manager Derek McInnes, who returned to McDiarmid Park competitively for the first time since leaving for Bristol City.

Sir Alex Ferguson (left) with St Johnstone chairman Steve Brown at McDiarmid Park

Saints started brighter but it was Aberdeen who forced the first chance as Pawlett worked a one-two with Scott Vernon before his shot across goalkeeper Alan Mannus crept just wide.

But the former St Johnstone loanee Pawlett did not have to wait long to get on the scoresheet as he put the Dons ahead on 17 minutes with a fine strike.

Chris Millar was robbed by Barry Robson before Vernon back heeled to Pawlett, who rifled home a low shot into the bottom right corner past the sprawling Mannus.

Vernon then curled over after he was played in by McGinn.

Both teams were guilty of surrendering possession throughout and it was a poor Reynolds clearance that handed Saints their only clear-cut chance of the first half as Stevie May brought out a stunning save from Jamie Langfield.

In the second half, Pawlett was denied another goal after Hayes played him in on the right of the box, but his powerful effort was beaten away by Mannus.

Saints brought on Gwion Edwards for Millar and he quickly found himself with space in box after beating Andrew Considine but he shot tamely at Langfield.

Wright then sent on former Don Fallon, but he needn't have bothered as the big Kiwi was shown a straight red card after a clash with Hector just over a minute after coming on.

Hector then tested Mannus from distance as the Dons looked for the killer blow which duly arrived five minutes from time, and it was a sight to behold.

McGinn picked it up on the left, cut inside and bent a superb shot into the top corner for his eighth of the season, while at the other end Langfield collected his 11th clean sheet in 17 appearances this season.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Celtic1411302336
2Inverness CT149231029
3Dundee Utd157531826
4Aberdeen15825826
5Motherwell15816-725
6St Johnstone15636521
7Hibernian15456-517
8St Mirren14446-716
9Partick Thistle15357-1214
10Kilmarnock15339-812
11Ross County14329-1311
12Hearts15339-12-3
View full Scottish Premiership table

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