By John Hannah at Pittodrie Stadium
As end of season games go, this was very much an end of season game.
Coming into the game we knew all the permutations for Kilmarnock, St Mirren and Aberdeen to sort out 7th, 8th and 9th places but by the time referee Willie Collum blew the final whistle at Pittodrie all sides were sitting in the spot that they held before 3:00pm. While Danny Lennon will almost certainly be pleased with his side’s 8th place finish it will be debatable if he will be happy with what he watched this afternoon.
For long spells Aberdeen were well on top but Craig Brown’s side were pretty much shot shy and when they did hit the target they found Saints keeper Craig Samson on top form. That being said, despite being out of the game for long periods Saints had chances at the end of both halfs to pinch the points.
Danny Lennon made one change to his line-up from the side that started in the loss against Inverness Caley Thistle last Saturday, Graham Carey starting ahead of the dropped Nigel Hasselbaink who took a place on the substitutes’ bench. The departures of Graeme Smith, Hugh Murray and Steven Thomson saw youngsters Adam McHugh and Sean Kelly on the bench as well as the returning from injury David Barron who was on the squad list for the first time since March 23rd.
Aberdeen should have taken the lead on the 4th minute when departing Don Darren Mackie got on the end of a through ball from Andrew Considine to go one-on-one with Craig Samson but the wee striker’s shot was pushed around the post by the Saints keeper.
The home side had gained the upper hand and came close to opening the scoring on the 16 minute mark. Jamie Masson played in a corner-kick which Russell Anderson got to first to head-flick towards the back post but David van Zanten was on hand to clear the ball from the line.
Four minutes later St Mirren made their first strike at goal when a Steven Thomspon pass found Graham Carey who fired his speculative shot from 30 yards out wide of the target.
After being under the cosh for the first 20 minutes or so St Mirren were now finding a foothold in the game and on the 23rd minute came close to taking the lead. Some nice link up play in midfield saw the ball find its way to Dougie Imrie who played an inch perfect pass for Thompson who beat the offside trap but the Saints’ striker could only look on in frustration as his well struck shot was pushed away to safety by Dons’ keeper Jamie Langfield.
Mackie had another gilt-edged opportunity to give the home side the lead on the half hour mark. A long throw-in into the penalty-area from Josh Magennis caught out a static Saints defence and the ball broke to the Dons’ striker but Mackie fired his effort from 12 yards out wide of the post. Sixty seconds later a curling shot from Masson was cleared by Samson who had to scramble across goal to get to the ball.
Half-Time: Aberdeen 0-0 St Mirren
Aberdeen came out with a real sense of urgency for the start of the second half and came close to breaking the deadlock on the 50th minute but Gavin Rae’s volley from the edge of the penalty-area went narrowly over the top of Samson’s crossbar.
As action goes that was very much it until the game hit the final ten minutes. Both sides threw on substitutes as they tried to find the right formula and for Aberdeen it was youngster Ryan Fraser who on the 83rd minute had barely been on sixty seconds when his cross drifted towards goal but Craig Samson showed excellent reactions to push the ball away to saftey.
Two minutes later St Mirren sub Gary Teale sprung Steven Thompson free and while the striker didn’t make the connection he would have liked with the ball it almost caught Jamie Langfield out but the Aberdeen keeper recovered well to force a save for a corner-kick.
From that point both the game and season 2011-2012 petered out.
Full-Time: Aberdeen 0-0 St Mirren
Aberdeen: Langfield, Reynolds, Considine, Anderson, Arnason (Osbourne 75), Jack, Rae, Masson (Fraser 81), Vernon, Mackie, Magennis (McArdle 71).
Subs Not Used: Mawene, Clark, Megginson, Brown (GK).
St Mirren: Samson, van Zanten, McGregor, McAusland, Tesselaar, Goodwin, McLean, Imrie (Teale 62), Carey (Hasselbaink 62), Thompson, McGowan.
Subs Not Used: Barron, Naismith, Kelly, Reilly, McHugh (GK).
Referee: William Collum.
Assistant Referee: Gary Sweeney.
Assistant Referee: Graeme Leslie.
4th Official: Gary Hilland.
Star Saint: Not a day of great St Mirren performances if the truth be told. Captain Jim Goodwin was a rock in defence but the award goes to Craig Samson for some great saves that helped him record his 16th shut-out of the season.
Match pictures by Allan Picken – © Allan Picken Photography.