Aberdeen’s Premiership campaign could hinge on a striker finally stepping up to the mark by delivering goals.
Or if they don’t deliver before the winter break, by signing a consistent goal-scorer during the January transfer window.
All the good work and positivity of the 1-0 win at Ibrox just days before dissipated with a flat, uninspired performance.
This was a defeat that dropped the Reds back into the bottom six and they need a consistent scorer to jump into the mix at the top of the table.
Aberdeen may have looked fatigued after the rigours of two matches in Glagow against the Old Firm inside the last week. But they are professional athletes and should be able to deal with three matches in a week.
Ultimately it was the lack of cutting edge in attack that was the Reds’ downfall.
The rest of the team have had to handle the burden of grabbing goals as the Dons have had more different goal-scorers (12) than any other side in this season’s Premiership.
That the Dons started with relative rookie Sam Cosgrove in both games against the Old Firm in Glasgow last week underlined the paucity of goals.
A £20,000 signing from Carlisle United in January, the 22-year-old striker has netted just three times in his senior career.
Two of those came in a 4-1 Premiership defeat of struggling St Mirren two months ago.
That inexperienced Cosgrove relegated on loan Manchester United striker James Wilson, who has netted in the English top flight, and £400,000 signing Stevie May to the bench was an indictment of the goal drought.
With Cosgrove suspended May was given the nod to hunt for his first league goal since a 4-1 defeat of former club St Johnstone on March 31.
It was centre-back Scott McKenna who netted the vital goal in the 1-0 win at Rangers.
If Aberdeen are to have any chance of replicating the last four seasons in the league they need a striker to deliver those big goals, and to do that regularly.
Another crucial factor is that the strikers also have to get the service from midfield to allow them to score.
May was left to run around and feed off scraps against Saints.
It was May who created the first chance in the ninth minute when he raced onto a Connor McLennan pass in the penalty area. May drilled low across the face of goal but his 12 yard effort flashed inches wide.
Dons keeper Joe Lewis reacted quickly to push behind a vicious 20 yard drive from Matty Kennedy at the near post in the 25th minute. Moments later Scott McKenna drilled a powerful 35 yard effort just over. In the final minute of a dismal first half McKenna again threatened when he met a corner but his 12 yard header was saved by the diving Zander Clark.
After the fireworks and high of the win at Ibrox the first 45 minutes were a damp squib.
In the 55th minute McLennan fired in a low drive from 22 yards but Clark got down to save. Moments later McLennan again shot over from range.
Saints had a strong penalty appeal when Shay Logan appeared to catch the legs of Ross Callachan, but the referee waved play on. It was a let off.
Yet Aberdeen went behind in the 71st minute when they failed to cope with a corner from David Wotherspoon. Former Don Joe SHAUGHNESSY rose above Andy Considine and fired in a bullet header from 12 yards.
It got worse for the Reds when substitute Blair ALSTON broke past a challenge from Dom Ball and raced at goal. Allowed the time to shoot he curled in a superb 25 yard effort beyond Lewis in the 73rd minute.
Sub Niall McGinn came close with a 25 yard free kick but Clark did well to push wide.