The Dons struggled against St Mirren at a freezing cold Pittodrie on Saturday afternoon.
Ahead of the match kicking off, there was a guard of honour from both teams in recognition of Andy Considine reaching his 500th Dons appearance last week against St Johnstone. He was joined by his children for the momentous occasion and received an award on reaching this milestone from outgoing Chairman, Stewart Milne.
Derek McInnes made three changes to the side that faced St Johnstone last week.
Zak Vyner returned to the starting line-up, albeit there was a minor worry he picked up an injury during warm-up – he started.
Dean Campbell and Jon Gallagher also made it into the starting eleven. Dropping to the bench were Mikey Devlin, Shay Logan and Curtis Main.
And immediately as the game started, our defence was put under test after Andreu fired a 15-yard shot, that Joe Lewis blocked.
Five minutes later, we were on the front foot though, with goal scoring talisman Sam Cosgrove scoring the opener in the sixth minute.
We nearly went two up when a cross from Ryan Hedges picked up Greg Leigh at the back post which he headed down to Cosgrove, however Sam pulled the shot wide from the edge of the penalty area.
In the 22nd minute, Jon Gallagher should have had the ball in the back of the net – the unmarked midfielder’s diving header hit the ground and bounced over the bar.
Not long after, St Mirren scored when Ryan Flynn ran towards the byline then cut the ball back to Obika and put it into our net.
Our lacklustre approach to the game continue into the second half.
Ryan Hedges shot from the centre of the penalty area went wide, but Aberdeen went 2-1 up after a cross from Hedges on the left was picked up by Niall McGinn and he fired home the shot.
St Mirren were awarded a penalty in the 84th minute after Joe Lewis fouled Obika in the box. Joe earned a yellow card as well – but he made up for it, after a brilliant double save, the first from Andreu’s spot kick and also the rebound that ensured we earned the three points.
It’s an important win ahead of our midweek match against Rangers.
Derek McInnes told the club website: “At the time (of the penalty) I was aggrieved at how we were able to get ourselves into that situation, a straight ball from left centre back into that left channel, how that can all of a sudden be a penalty kick?
“St Mirren had a chance from 12 yards to score an equaliser and thankfully Joe has done what he has done for me plenty of times, he is worth about 12 points a season and that’s why we fought so hard to keep him and why he is on such a long contract. He is invaluable and when you have a 9 at the top end of the pitch like Cosgrove and a keeper like Joe, even when you don’t play at your best you pick up points.
“There is no doubt we deserved to win the game, I thought St Mirren were good in the game in spells. They overloaded their middle, with five in there. It’s no secret we are short of natural midfielders at the minute and I think at times it showed that but in that first half we played around their compact shape, moving the ball side to side.
“We scored a brilliant goal with Cosgrove and we should have scored another one shortly after with Lewis in the middle of the goal, it was one that seemed harder to miss than actually score.
“Some of our play was really good but then we lose a cheap goal in terms of not defending the wider area enough and then from there on in for 10 minutes after that we didn’t respond well. There was a fragility about us and we needed to reset and go again. Before half-time we started to knock on the door again.
“We then made a subtle change at half-time, McGinn stretched out to try and produce a bit of quality, and thankfully McGinn’s come in from the left-hand side and produced a lovely finish. That change helped us, McGinn in that wider area proved pivotal. We then got four in the middle with Ferguson, Vyner, Campbell and Hedges and I thought we started to make a better fist of it and were far more competitive.
“We are really brave with our line, we try to hold our line rather than fall back in. We need to be trusting the linesmen to do their jobs there. I was quite happy with a lot of our defensive play and a lot of attacking play and then suddenly, we looked a bit vulnerable so it’s getting that balance in the middle.
“Having natural midfielders helps with that, I think having a Bryson or Ojo on the pitch grabbing the game and controlling things would have helped. With McGinn heading off I thought we lost a bit of control and possession and whilst I thought St Mirren were good value in the game, I thought the better team won.
“We have one defeat in eight and that was against Celtic, four wins out of our last five including a draw against St Johnstone last week where we should have won. Since that Celtic defeat we have knuckled down and got on with the job in hand, we know how difficult it is to win three points in the league but the form of the players and the determination of the players has been far better and much needed at this stage in the season.
“After the Celtic game there was a lot of noise but four wins out of five is not bad shooting and now we face one of the strongest teams in the country, Rangers have better players than us but we can win the game and it’s important that my players believe that when they go out there. We have to try and do so much well and let them know they are in a game for us to have any chance of getting the result we want.
“Ojo won’t make it and Bryson will be touch and go for Wednesday. We are hoping he can maybe put in a couple of days training before then, but we can’t say that with any real certainty.”