Aberdeen reel in Rangers with victory against St Johnstone
Aberdeen moved level on points with second-placed Rangers in the Ladbrokes Premiership with a 4-1 win against St Johnstone.
Ryan Christie and Stevie May’s first-half goals were added to by Greg Stewart’s brace after the break, while on-loan Manchester United midfielder Matty Willock scored for the visitors.
Derek McInnes’ men took full advantage of Rangers’ draw against Motherwell, who are the Dons’ opponents on Tuesday when a point will move them into second.
It was a slow start, and although Stewart saw an early shot blocked, it was St Johnstone who had the better of the early chances.
Liam Craig sent a 25-yard free-kick over the crossbar and Chris Millar’s snap-shot from the edge of the area was deflected off target.
On-loan Aberdeen midfielder Christie curled narrowly wide of the upright after being slipped in by May on the right, but things were generally quiet in front of goal until the game exploded into life after 34 minutes.
May charged down a St Johnstone clearance in the centre circle and a fortunate bounce saw the ball fall to Gary Mackay-Steven. His through-ball found Christie, who was forced wide by Saints goalkeeper Alan Mannus but kept his cool to open the scoring through a ruck of bodies from six yards.
Two minutes later Mackay-Steven played a reverse pass to May, who was denied by Mannus, and soon after the former St Johnstone striker hit the crossbar from a Graeme Shinnie cross, with Mannus denying Christie on the rebound.
But May would not be denied and got himself on the scoresheet four minutes before half-time. He sent a low shot across Mannus and into the bottom-right corner after Christie’s clever pass left him in acres of space.
And the home side kept the momentum going into the second half, adding a third goal in the 51st minute. Andrew Considine swung over a superb cross from the left to fellow full-back Shay Logan at the back post. His header looked destined for the net but Stewart got the final touch from close range.
A bad afternoon for St Johnstone was compounded only three minutes later when half-time substitute Blair Alston was injured as he tried to keep the ball alive in the corner.
Logan saw another header pushed on to the crossbar as the home side searched for another goal, but it was the visitors who pulled one back.
Liam Craig’s inswinging corner was headed home by Willock, with the aid of a deflection off May.
But any hopes of a comeback were extinguished with eight minutes left when Stewart added a fourth for the Dons with a superb half-volley from the edge of the area.