Aberdeen’s performance in Paisley against St Mirren was pretty consistent with the rest of their season.
They’ve struggled creatively this term, without regular goal-makers, and goal-takers – other than Sam Cosgrove with more 20 to his name – have been light on the ground.
The Dons’ coaching staff have clearly realised this can’t continue after the midweek loss to Motherwell at Pittodrie and pushed through a deal for St Johnstone winger Matty Kennedy on Friday in an attempt to add some more spark.
After initially securing the 25-year-old on a pre-contract, they clearly thought getting him in January would be a step towards rectifying the situation as he went straight into the starting line-up for the St Mirren match.
However, the game was more of the same and the gap between the Dons in fourth and the Steelmen in third – which guarantees a European qualification spot – is now four points.
Aberdeen had plenty of possession against the Buddies and, aside from Dylan McGeouch’s loose ball to let in Saints’ striker Jon Obika for the game’s best chance, had control over proceedings.
However, possession is worth nothing if you can’t turn it into chances.
For the most part, the Reds are defensively sound and you knew it would take a set-piece or error for Saints to get an opportunity, but without the creativity in the final third the supporters will be left feeling disappointed.
I did think St Mirren were well organised by boss Jim Goodwin and, by sitting in and waiting to hit Aberdeen on the counter, made it very difficult for the visitors to break them down.
But it feels like a record which has been playing on repeat this term, and it’s now 292 minutes since the Dons have scored a goal from open play – before the winter break.
Had Obika scored his gilt-edged first-half chance you wouldn’t have backed Aberdeen to turn the game round with the very few chances they are creating.
I thought Obika did pretty well to get his shot away and was very unlucky to hit the post instead of finding the corner of the net.
The lack of goals puts pressure on a defence which shouldn’t be feeling any pressure.
McInnes and his team must soon find the combination of players who can regularly create and take chances.
The squad is strong enough that there’s a correct formula in there.
Summer signing Ryan Hedges, who has been on the bench, showed he can be dangerous off the wing in the early part of the season.
We know, because he’s been doing it for years, that Niall McGinn can also create, however sometimes he needs a bit of help.
Young Connor McLennan also showed last season flashes of his potential – when he gets a chance to play out wide, he needs to take it.
Then there’s Kennedy, who will hopefully come good, and the likes of Jon Gallagher and James Wilson to be sources of creativity as well.
I don’t know which combination is the one.
For 18 months, Cosgrove has been relied upon as a lone striker, but Curtis Main and Bruce Anderson need to making a case as alternative sources of goals. They’ve both shown they can score previously.
Maybe there’s still a need for a number 10 in the January window.
I don’t think Lewis Ferguson, who is playimg advanced with McGeouch and Funso Ojo behind, is strongest there.
Maybe Kennedy, who played the role briefly, should be in there instead of playing wide.