Scottish Premiership
AberdeenAberdeen1St JohnstoneSt Johnstone1

Aberdeen 1-1 St Johnstone

By Chris McLaughlinBBC Scotland at Pittodrie

A controversial late penalty for St Johnstone secured a 1-1 draw for the visitors and denied Aberdeen the chance to cut the gap on Celtic to four points at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

Simon Church had put the home side ahead with a close-range effort.

But with just two minutes to play, Saints substitute Liam Craig scored from the spot after being challenged inside the box by Ryan Jack.

Aberdeen players and fans were left furious by the penalty decision.

The home side started this game buoyed by Celtic's slip up in their match against Hamilton on Friday but also shell-shocked by the news they could be without their top scorer Adam Rooney for six weeks.

Derek McInnes' side immediately set out to dominate possession and although they dictated play early on, they missed the obvious target that Rooney so often provides.

As they pushed for the opening goal, Kenny McLean found some space 10 yards out but his shot was weak and Saints goalkeeper Alan Mannus wasn't troubled.

As the first half progressed and the home side failed to take advantage of their possession, St Johnstone began to push forward and find gaps in an Aberdeen defence that, at times, looked very fragile.

Steven MacLean had a couple of decent efforts but his lob from 10 yards out didn't have enough to beat Scott Brown and his volley from the same distance was blocked at the last minute.

But just as it looked like the Dons were living dangerously, Church blasted them into the lead.

Ash Taylor's header from a Niall McGinn corner looked to be goal-bound. Mannus saved well but could not hold it and Church swept the ball into the back of the net from four yards.

Simon Church (right) gave Aberdeen the lead
Simon Church (right) gave Aberdeen a first half lead

It was a goal that not only settled the Aberdeen legions inside Pittodrie, but also the home players, who started to knock the ball around with the confidence of a side who see themselves as title contenders.

But despite their continued domination in the second half, they failed to extend their lead and it was to prove costly.

Jack, McGinn and Pawlett all linked up well but they just could not find a way through.

As some of the 12,563 fans started to head for the exits, the game's most controversial moment happened.

As Craig picked up the ball and drove into the box, he was challenged by Jack, who appeared to make contact with the ball. But Craig tumbled and referee Steven McLean pointed to the spot.

With the home fans still howling in protest, Craig stepped up and expertly sent Brown the wrong way.

For Aberdeen, the remaining few minutes were spent throwing the kitchen sink in the direction of the St Johnstone goal but the winner never came.

Line-ups

Aberdeen

  • 20Brown
  • 22JackBooked at 41mins
  • 5Taylor
  • 6Reynolds
  • 4Considine
  • 16PawlettSubstituted forWrightat 84'minutes
  • 8Flood
  • 3ShinnieBooked at 80mins
  • 10McGinn
  • 7McLean
  • 18Church

Substitutes

  • 14Smith
  • 15Robson
  • 19Collin
  • 24Rose
  • 26McKenna
  • 27Wright
  • 31Ross

St Johnstone

  • 1Mannus
  • 22FisherBooked at 63mins
  • 14Shaughnessy
  • 6Anderson
  • 3Scobbie
  • 16SwansonBooked at 41minsSubstituted forThomsonat 70'minutes
  • 20BrownBooked at 7minsSubstituted forCraigat 45'minutes
  • 4Lappin
  • 10WotherspoonBooked at 17mins
  • 9MacLeanSubstituted forKaneat 74'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 18Cummins

Substitutes

  • 5Doyle
  • 11Sutton
  • 12Clark
  • 25Kane
  • 26Craig
  • 27Thomson
  • 66Krachunov
Referee:
Steven McLean
Attendance:
12,563

Match Stats

Home TeamAberdeenAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home57%
Away43%
Shots
Home15
Away10
Shots on Target
Home5
Away3
Corners
Home11
Away0
Fouls
Home14
Away11

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Aberdeen 1, St. Johnstone 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Aberdeen 1, St. Johnstone 1.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen).

  4. Post update

    Darnell Fisher (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  5. Booking

    Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card.

  6. Post update

    Ryan Jack (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone).

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Alan Mannus.

  10. Post update

    Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Alan Mannus.

  11. Goal!

    Goal! Aberdeen 1, St. Johnstone 1. Liam Craig (St. Johnstone) converts the penalty with a left footed shot to the bottom left corner.

  12. Post update

    Penalty conceded by Ryan Jack (Aberdeen) after a foul in the penalty area.

  13. Post update

    Penalty St. Johnstone. Liam Craig draws a foul in the penalty area.

  14. Post update

    Attempt missed. Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

  15. Post update

    Kenny McLean (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Simon Lappin (St. Johnstone).

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Aberdeen. Scott Wright replaces Peter Pawlett.

  18. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Graham Cummins (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

  20. Booking

    Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.