Dons dominate to down Saints

Issac Osbourne and Jonny Hayes provided the goals but the score

does not come close to describing the visitors’ superiority,

particularly in a second half where Aberdeen controlled the play in

the St Johnstone half and created numerous chances.

Nigel Hasselbaink added a late consolation for the hosts, but

the defeat from the season home opener leaves St Johnstone with

only a point from their first three SPL games.

Before kick-off St Johnstone boss Steve Lomas was dealt a blow

as illness prevented Craig Beattie from making his debut.

Instead, Lomas went for Sean Higgins through the centre in a

three-man attack that featured Hasselbaink and Liam Craig cutting

in from either wing. Gregory Tade and Rowan Vine missed out through


An injury to Niall McGinn forced Aberdeen manager Craig Brown

into a similar line-up reshuffle. Ryan Fraser came in and started

on the left of a three-man attack with Scott Vernon through the

middle and Jonny Hayes on the right.

Aberdeen started the brighter of the two sides with Fraser’s

direct running giving the visitors an early spark, and it was

through the youngster that Aberdeen were able to open the scoring

on 15 minutes.

Fraser’s cross from the left was flicked on by Scott Vernon and

dropped nicely for Isaac Osbourne arriving into the box. The

makeshift right-back controlled the ball with one touch before

smashing it low into the corner for Aberdeen’s first league goal of

the season.

The young attacker was at it again five minutes later after

being played through on the left by a clever reverse pass from

Vernon. The ball was passed across the face of the goal but Fraser

Wright was able to clear before it reached the feet of the arriving

Ryan Jack.

The hosts had looked disjointed in attack throughout most of the

first half and Lomas reacted to this by withdrawing Murray Davidson

and replacing him with Gary Miller, with the team reverting to a


Within two minutes of the restart the change almost had an

immediate effect, but Higgins fluffed a glorious chance when

Craig’s free-kick was deflected into his path six yards out.

Any momentum that could have been taken from carving out such an

opportunity was gone 20 seconds later when a calamitous error

gifted Aberdeen a two-goal lead.

There appeared to be little danger when a through ball for Jonny

Hayes was comfortably covered by Fraser Wright.

However, the defender elected against putting the ball into the

stands and waited for the oncoming Alan Mannus to clear. The

indecision allowed Hayes to nick the ball from the pair and roll it

into the empty net.

On 57 minutes Scott Vernon wheeled away in celebration having

seemingly put his side 3-0 up with a bullet header inside the area,

but his jubilation was cut short by the raised flag of the far side


The visitors felt aggrieved again after an initial Hayes shot

rebounded off the post and back to Vernon in the penalty area.

His first time shot evaded Mannus but was deflected beside the

post by one of the covering defenders. Aberdeen were incensed,

feeling the deflection came via an arm.

The linesman’s flag then denied Vernon and Aberdeen once again.

The striker could not miss after running on to the end of a Fraser

free-kick, but he was adjudged to have started his run too


Hasselbaink pulled a goal back late on after side-footing home

from 10 yards, but the game should have been over as a contest long

before this consolation, and the visitors were able to ride the

nervy finish for a thoroughly deserved three points.