Dons convincingly beat Saints at McDiarmid Park

Aberdeen were convincing 3-0 winners against St Johnstone as they turned in one of their best performances of the season at McDiarmid Park.

Goals from Adam Rooney and Kari Arnason in the first half and Ryan Christie’s second half free-kick made it a comfortable evening for the 1045 strong Red Army who travelled to Perth to be among the crowd which numbered 2911.

Dons boss Derek McInnes made two changes from the side that beat Dundee 1-0 at Dens Park on Friday night.

Andy Considine was dropped to the bench and Frank Ross missed out altogether with Arnason and Stevie May both back in the starting line-up.

This meant they lined up with skipper Graeme Shinnie at left-back. Anthony O’Connor and Kenny McLean sitting in midfield with Christie just ahead of them.

May, back at his old stomping ground, played upfront with Rooney and Greg Stewart.

Saints were boosted before kick-off by the signing of striker David McMillan from Dundalk, with Irishman signing a two-and-a-half year deal, he will arrive at McDiarmid Park in January.

The hosts had the first chance on six minutes. May was dispossessed by former Don Joe Shaughnessy in midfield, he found Stefan Scougall on the right.

Scougall burned past Shinnie and laid the ball back for Murray Davidson, his first effort from 12 yards was blocked by O’Connor before Davidson stabbed the rebound just wide.

Shinnie almost had a chance on 12 minutes when Greg Stewart picked him out in the box with a lovely chip, but former Aberdeen skipper Richard Foster got back to block the volley.

The Reds did hit the front on 20 minutes and it was Rooney – fresh from comparing his bawballs on social media with Star Trek star William Shatner – who netted.

Stewart was at the heart of it working a one-two on the left and getting into the box on the left, rather than shoot he laid it back to Rooney and he calmly finished from 15 yards with the right foot.

Just before the half hour May nearly made it 2-0.

Christie picked out his run with a magnificent low through ball, which many players simply wouldn’t have seen.

May got there but his first time effort from 12 yards bounced back off the crossbar.

It was 2-0 on 33 minutes when Arnason headed home at the back post from close range after May’s corner from the left was not cleared by the home defence and it looped to the back post.

Saints nearly had a route back into the game on 38 minutes when a deep free-kick was headed across goal by Shaughnessy but it was just out of reach for former Don Steven McLean who was sliding in.

Soon after Aberdeen goalie Joe Lewis – who had been a spectator up until that point – made a good smothering save to repel McLean from close range when he got free following a short corner.

A minute before the break Kenny McLean forced home keeper Zander Clark into a comfortable save with a strike from 25 yards.

Just before the whistle for half-time Lewis made a fine diving stop to push Michael O’Halloran’s 20 yard strike to safety, but it remained 2-0 at the interval.

Seven minutes after the interval Rooney had a good chance to secure the points when he intercepted Steven Anderson’s poor header back towards goalie Clark, but Rooney lashed just over from 12 yards.

\But just before the hour it was game over.

Stewart was fouled when he wriggled away from David Wotherspoon who pulled him back.

Christie stepped up to take the set-piece which was 25 yards out and just right of centre. The Celtic loanee’s left foot effort was on target and was deflected off the jumping Saints wall which wrong-footed Clark and sent it into the corner of the net.

The Dons were in complete command and were coasting to victory. Shinnie blasted over from 25 yards with 10 minutes left as they threatened to add a fourth.

With three minutes to play sub Gary Mackay-Steven struck wide from 15 yards after a good set-up pass from fellow sub Nicky Maynard.

Arnason had a shot from long range deflected just wide after a rampage forward, but it finished 3-0.

St Johnstone: Zander Clark, Scott Tanser, Joe Shaughnessy, Steven Anderson, Richard Foster; David Wotherspoon (Blair Alston 77), Paul Paton, Murray Davidson (Graham Cummins 25), Stefan Scougall (Craig Thomson 62); Michael O’Halloran, Steven McLean.

Subs not used: Alan Mannus, Kyle McClean, Liam Gordon, Liam Craig.

Aberdeen: Joe Lewis, Shay Logan, Kari Arnason, Scott McKenna, Graeme Shinnie; Greg Stewart (Gary Mackay-Steven 72), Anthony O’Connor, Kenny McLean, Ryan Christie; Adam Rooney (Nicky Maynard 77), Stevie May (Andy Considine 60).

Subs not used: Danny Rogers, Mark Reynolds, Dominic Ball, Scott Wright.

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