The last home game of the season under the lights at Pittodrie on a Friday night, and there was a job to do – to secure three vital points to secure a European qualifier place.
Derek McInnes included Graeme Shinnie in his starting line-up for his final match at Pittodrie after he signed his contract with Derby County.
Andy Considine also returned from suspension with Mikey Devlin and Stevie May dropped to the bench.
There wasn’t much to talk about in the opening 20 minutes, but things livened up on 27 minutes, when Greg Stewart dire low past Colin Doyle’s right post.
Aberdeen were controlling the middle of the park, and pulling off some decent passes, but a breakdown, especially in the final third – was never far away.
In the 36th minute, Sam Cosgrove went down in the box after a challenge from Sean Clare, but ref Bobby Madden ordered a retake instead of what could have been a penalty.
Not long before the end of the first half, it looked as if the game was over for Joe Lewis, after Conor Shaughnessy dive in late on him, after a few minutes of attention from the medical staff the stopper continued, and Tomas Cerny was warming up just in case. Luckily Joe saw out the first half.
Into the second half, and the physical play continued. Sean Clare received a yellow after jumping into Scott McKenna’s face. Andy Considine also saw yellow for a challenge on Christophe Berra.
Sam Cosgrove came close to scoring in the 53rd minute, but his effort was too close to Doyle who pushed it wide.
But it wasn’t long after that, when Lewis Ferguson pounced on a James Wilson cut back from the right wing. His volley over Doyle’s right shoulder place the ball into the left of the net to put the Dons ahead.
A second goal in the 61st minute was possible, Cosgrove came close when he took the ball from Lowe and show low for Doyle’s far post, but the keeper managed to grab it.
All this hard work was then taken apart when Burns bundled the ball past Lewis, levelling things up.
The second Dons goal came in 77 minutes. Wilson ran down the right and cutback to Stewart on the penalty spot. Stewart met the ball with his right foot and curled it into the net.
That was the last of the goals as Aberdeen saw the remaining minutes of the second half. Joe Lewis was lucky when he was adjudged to have taken out Steven MacLean by Bobby Madden, the foul was just outside the Dons’ box.
It was job done to seal the three points as the curtain came down on a season of football at Pittodrie. The Red Army applauded the team off the park and gave a standing ovation to captain Graeme Shinnie for his last home appearance for Aberdeen.
Derek McInnes commented following the game on the club website: “It was a really important three points in the context of our season.
“I said prior to the game we had work to do to try win the next two games.
“The first one up was Hearts and there wasn’t a lot in the first half. We had the better of the game in some very good areas, but in saying that big Joe’s had a couple of saves and deserves a lot of credit for playing on which was clearly an uncomfortable situation for him. Thankfully he’s played on and played his part in helping us get a win.
“I thought we were the better team and the team who were trying to win the game.
“When Ferguson scored I thought 1-0 should have been enough, but what’s been systematic of our season is losing cheap goals. They took a quick throw in and fair play to them they’ve got enough bodies in the box to take advantage of the ricocheted cross and we’ve got to do it all over again.
“Wilson assists with the first one off his left side and then assists again for Greg off his right foot.
“It was a brilliant bit of speed with a lovely weighted cross and while it was nice for somebody to come onto, Greg has a hell of a lot still to do and what a finish.
“We waited a long time for that from him and he’s been trying to be fully fit. He’s been desperate to do well for us and play his part and his winning goal will hopefully prove important for us come the end of the season.”
On Graeme’s final home game he said: “It was great to see him part of a winning performance on his last game here – he deserved that.
“The supporters deserved the win at home, but him above anybody I felt needed to leave here with a winning performance.
“While he clearly wasn’t fully fit he puts himself out there and is an example to others. There’s a dying art in this day and age that he has the ability to make others better round about him.
“Too many players these days play their own game and look after themselves and at times football can be like that, but Shinnie is a team player in the truest sense of the word. I’ve never worked with a player who has the connection with the support as much as he has.
“He’ll be dearly missed, but he’s got one big effort for us hopefully next week. He’ll rest that ankle down and hopefully be ready to go next Sunday. Hopefully his last game for us is another three points.
“His ankle was heavily strapped but he took painkillers and was able to run around. He came and chapped on my door yesterday afternoon and said he was ready to play. He wanted to play and did a bit of training. We never named the team because we wanted to see how Graeme and Shay reacted after training.
“When you have your captain saying he’s ready and wanting to play then you listen.”