Niall McGinn’s textbook free-kick after the break gave Aberdeen a share of the spoils from a 1-1 Ladbrokes Premiership draw with St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park
Saints attacker David McMillan opened the scoring in the 13th minute from a Liam Craig corner and the home side sat on their lead for the rest of the half amid a rather insipid response from Derek McInnes’s side.
The Pittodrie outfit improved markedly after the break however, and deservedly drew level in the 69th minute when Northern Ireland international McGinn lifted a free-kick over the wall and past Saints goalkeeper Zander Clark for his first goal of the season.
Aberdeen pressed unsuccessfully for the winner but McInnes would have been happier with the second-half showing, especially with so many players missing.
Defender Scott McKenna was back from a hamstring injury which kept him out for five weeks and took over from the suspended Michael Devlin.
However, Lewis Ferguson, Tommie Hoban, Mark Reynolds, Greg Tansey, Scott Wright, James Wilson and Frank Ross were all missing as midfielder Chris Forrester made his first competitive start since signing from Peterborough United.
Unchanged Saints took part in a typically frantic start and in the ninth minute the Dons called for a penalty when Drey Wright tangled with Stevie May in the box as the former St Johnstone striker tried to get on the end of Gary Mackay-Steven’s lobbed pass.
Referee Willie Collum took no notice, incurring the wrath of the travelling supporters for the rest of the game.
Saints’ goal came in straightforward fashion after defender Richard Foster won a corner on the right.
From Craig’s in-swinging delivery, McMillan got in ahead of Shay Logan at the near post to bullet in a header for his third goal of the season.
McInnes replaced Forrester with Sam Cosgrove for the start of the second-half while – for Saints – Craig made way for Ross Callachan and it was the Dons who benefited most from their change.
Within seconds Clark had to make a fine save on the stretch from a McGinn effort.
St Johnstone defender Jason Kerr headed clear a goal-bound Mackay-Steven drive before Dons skipper Graeme Shinnie fired a foot wide from 25 yards.
The pressure on the Perth side’s goal intensified.
Clark parried Mackay-Steven’s long-range drive and then produced an even better save from a Cosgrove header.
In the 67th minute, Bruce Anderson and Dom Ball came on for May and Gleeson and two minutes later the visitors were level.
After St Johnstone midfielder Blair Alston was booked for a foul on Mackay-Steven, 20 yards from goal, McGinn stepped up to curl his free-kick high past Clark who this time was helpless.
St Johnstone were stung into action and moments later Joe Lewis saved from Alston’s shot from inside the box.
In the 78th minute, Danny Swanson came on to make first appearance of his third spell at St Johnstone, along with David Wotherspoon, with McMillan and Matty Kennedy making way, but both sides had to settle for a point.
Stay updated with the latest news, gossip and football stories by following us @Football_P