Aberdeen’s new dawn under incoming manager Stephen Glass will begin with the season still very much alive on two fronts.
Glass and assistant Allan Russell, the England squad striker coach, will begin working with the squad tomorrow.
The 44-year-old had to suffer the frustration of missing two games that could make or break the rest of the season before he had even met the squad.
Due to Covid-19 regulations on overseas travel, former Atlanta United 2 boss Glass had to isolate in a hotel room for 10 days.
Defeat in both would have ended the bid for silverware and the fight for third – effectively killing the season before Glass even had his feet under the table.
However, interim boss Paul Sheerin will hand over a team to the new manager with plenty still to play for.
Had the Dons lost the previous two games all that would have been left for Glass to do was assess his squad ahead of a summer rebuilding job so that he could mould the team to his shape.
However, now the bid for third, European qualification and a first Scottish Cup have survived. If Glass could somehow deliver all three within little more than a month of his arrival, what a monumental statement of intent that would be.
Normally, after a managerial change, the new boss enters a club facing relegation or in a season wasteland where nothing can be won. So much is still up for grabs this season for Glass and Aberdeen.
However, to get anywhere close to achieving success this campaign, the Dons will have to improve – especially on a dismal first-half showing in Perth.
Footage of first 45 minutes in Perth should have been R-rated
Glass was watching live coverage from his hotel and will no doubt study the action further with reruns.
Any footage of that first 45 minutes should carry a British Board of Film Classification for a video nasty.
It was brutal stuff, with the Dons indecisive and ponderous in possession.
On the ball there was a frustrating tendency to stop or check back, killing forward momentum and attacking intent.
In the first 45 minutes, more than 40% of the play took place in Aberdeen’s third of the pitch (despite the Dons having more than 60% of possession), while they only managed four touches collectively in the Saints box and no shots on target:
St Johnstone should have gone ahead in the 12th minute when a Craig Conway free-kick was cleared as far as the unmarked Chris Kane who ballooned an effort high over the bar from six yards.
It was a let-off for Aberdeen.
In the 25th minute, the Reds came close when Tommie Hoban rose to meet a Niall McGinn corner only to guide his header just wide from 10 yards out.
Saints continued to look the more dangerous and Jason Kerr headed inches wide in the 33rd minute.
Moments later Ali McCann’s 18-yard drive was saved by Joe Lewis.
It got better after the break – it had to.
Jonny Hayes’ goal was the first time Aberdeen had scored from open play in the Premiership since a 2-1 loss to Rangers on January 10.
Even then that Matty Kennedy goal against Rangers was a consolation as the Reds were 2-0 down.
The Dons had gone 12 league games without scoring from open play.
The wait for an Aberdeen goal from loan strikers Florian Kamberi and Fraser Hornby continues, however.
Kamberi has played 636 minutes, but has yet to score and was replaced at half time, having been largely anonymous.
According to Opta, the former Hibs attacker had just 19 touches of the ball and gave possession away 10 times, with six successful passes, no key passes and no shots.
His replacement Hornby has been dogged by injury, but came close to scoring.
Meanwhile, Callum Hendry, ineligible against his parent club on Saturday, has had 308 minutes and delivered two goals.
Even after Aberdeen got themselves in front in Perth, it wasn’t a done deal.
Captain Lewis came to the rescue yet again with a superb last-minute save from McCann, having been powerless as when a Shaun Rooney effort cannoned back off the post minutes before.
Amid the Dons’ recent slump in form due to their lacklustre attacking and lack of goals, it has been sometimes overlooked that Lewis has been racking up clean sheets. This was Lewis’ 20th clean sheet of the season in all competitions.
Glass has been studying players and performances – we’ll know what he’s learned with Livi visit Pittodrie
In the build-up to the match, midfielder Lewis Ferguson said the players realised the pressure was on them all to impress the new boss watching from afar.
Glass recently admitted he had watched every Aberdeen game this season prior to the availability of the managerial post due to the strategic partnership with Atlanta and the Dons, and his affection for the club he starred for in the Nineties.
The likelihood is the incoming manager already knows the strengths and weaknesses of all the players.
Glass sat back and let Sheerin retain autonomy with the three games he was in the dugout.
It will be fascinating to see the starting line-up when Glass and Russell are in the dugout for their first game against Livingston in the Scottish Cup on Saturday.