23 Feb 19
The Scottish Sun
GRAEME SHINNIE showed exactly why Aberdeen are desperate to keep him with a deadly double.
The Dons skipper scored in either half to give Derek McInnes’ side all three points and a SEVENTH straight win on the road.
Aberdeen move to within two points of Rangers after 2-0 win at McDiarmid Park
Shinnie is in the final months of his contract and has been offered new deal, rumoured to be the biggest in the club’s history.
The large travelling support sing about him being one of their own, but the real fear for everyone connected with the Reds must be where the 27-year-old sees his future.
He has remained tight-lipped on the subject and this performance wouldn’t have gone unnoticed by his suitors.
Scotland gaffer Alex McLeish must also have been impressed by Shinnie with games against Kazakhstan and San Marino just around the corner.
The victory moves the Reds to within two points of Rangers, for 24 hours at least, while Kilmarnock’s defeat at Livingston moves them four clear in third.
For the Saints it extends their winless run to seven games, with only one goal scored in those matches.
With Hibs finding form they have to turn things around if they want to secure a top six spot.
Cammy Bell 6
Richard Foster 6
Jason Kerr 7
Joe Shaughnessy 6
Scott Tanser 6
David Wotherspoon 5
Murray Davidson 6
Sean Goss 5
Liam Craig 5
Matthew Kennedy 6
Chris Kane 5
Subs: Tony Watt (Craig 55, 4), Danny Swnason (Wotherspoon 72, 3), Callum Hendry (Kane 80, 2)
Joe Lewis 6
Dominic Ball 8
Mikey Devlin 7
Andrew Considine 7
Max Lowe 6
Lewis Ferguson 7
Graeme Shinnie 9
Gary Mackay-Steven 6
Greg Stewart 6
Connor McLennan 7
Sam Cosgrove 5
Subs: Niall McGinn (McLennan 70, 4), Stevie May (Stewart 77, 3), Stephen Gleeson (Mackay-Steven 85, 2)
MAN OF THE MATCH
GRAEME SHINNIE takes the award ahead of Dons team-mates Dominic Ball and Connor McLennan.
The Aberdeen skipper put himself about all afternoon and picked up his eighth caution of the season. However, his moments of magic saw him be the Reds’ match winner with a deadly double.
St Johnstone defender Jason Kerr also impressed in front of Scotland boss Alex McLeish. The big defender never gave Sam Cosgrove a kick all day.
MAN IN THE MIDDLE
EUAN ANDERSON might not be as famous a name as some of his colleagues because he DOESN’T make many high-profile blunders.
There was a few meaty challenges in this one, but the whistler kept a lid on things with a calm and composed performance.
Dealt with all the flashpoints well and was right to book Chris Kane, Jason Kerr, Richard Foster and Graeme Shinnie.
Could have let the game go at times instead of calling things back but was decent.
MEN IN THE DUGOUT
DEREK McINNES will be delighted with his players as they got the win they probably deserved.
Their makeshift backline stood up to an early onslaught from the home side before Graeme Shinnie’s opener – before he secured the win with his second.
They weren’t at their sparkling best but at this stage of the season points are what matter.
For Tommy Wright their winless run stretches to seven games, with the lack of goals a concern.
Tommy Wright stuck with the same line-up who earned a 0-0 with away to Rangers last week.
Aberdeen made two changes from their draw with St Mirren with Tommie Hoban’s season over due to a cruciate injury, while Niall McGinn dropped to the bench.
Dominic Ball and Connor McLennan came in.
The Saints have struggled in front of goal of late but they almost broke the deadlock twice inside the first six minutes.
A loose ball deflected into the path of Matthew Kennedy who was 12-yards out. He took a touch before firing for goal, only for Andy Considine to throw himself in the way to divert it for a corner.
A succession of set-plays followed and 60 seconds later Liam Craig wasted an even better chance.
McLeish would have been impressed by Shinnie’s two-goal display ahead of qualifiers next month
This time Murray Davidson nodded the ball forward from the edge of the area, while his midfield colleague snuck in behind the Dons’ defence.
He slipped as he tried to make a connection and Joe Lewis gratefully gathered.
Four minutes later it was Max Lowe who came his side’s rescue with a vital back post clearance.
This time Kennedy swung in a deep cross looking for Craig, only for the on loan Derby full back to hook clear in the nick of time, before Lewis had to gather from Kennedy’s shot soon after.
They had struggled to get going but the Dons got themselves ahead on 14 minutes with their first attack thanks to Shinnie’s third goal of the season.
Ball robbed Kennedy on the halfway line before driving forward. He laid it into his skipper who cut inside Goss and curled a right foot shot into the bottom corner giving Cammy Bell no chance.
The goal hero then burst a gut to bail his team out on the half hour mark. Lowe’s poor touch the middle of the Saints’ half gave it away.
Shinnie fires home the first of his two goals
Sean Goss led the break and dinked a ball over Ball to Kane who stepped away from the big defender.
He looked set to break his duck for the season, only for Shinnie to come steaming in and knock it clear – being caught in the process, leaving Kane to pick up the first booking of the day.
Mackay-Steven stung the palms of Bell six minutes before the break as he caught McLennan’s cross on the volley, but it was a good stop from the keeper.
McLennan should have doubled the lead six minutes after the restart.
The winger was teed up inside the box by Shinnie, he was only ten yards out, although he somehow ballooned the ball over when he should have at least worked Bell.
Saints were inches away from an equaliser on 57 minutes. Kennedy beat Ball on the right wing and his shot deflected off Mikey Devlin.
Shinnie leaps into the air in celebration
Lewis had already committed himself, but the Dons escaped when the ball smashed off the post.
Jason Kerr had been a rock all afternoon for the Saints and he denied Lowe with a last-gasp challenge after the full-back had been cleverly picked out by Greg Stewart after a Dons counter attack.
But that man Shinnie put the game beyond doubt with 15 minutes left.
He drove from the middle of the park before firing a low shot into the bottom corner leaving Bell clutching at thin air.
Saints tried to find a way back without ever troubling Lewis as the Dons comfortably held on.
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