St Johnstone and Aberdeen fail to find breakthough in stalemate

first_imgAdam Rooney, who missed a vital spot-kick in the 1-0 second-leg defeat, was rested alongside Niall McGinn, while Ash Taylor was suspended and in their places came Jayden Stockley, Miles Storey and Anthony O’Connor.There was a straight switch in the Saints ranks, meanwhile, as Murray Davidson returned to replace the injured Chris Millar.It may have been the first day of the league campaign but both sides looked like they were struggling to shake the heavy workload of pre-season out of their legs.Aberdeen enjoyed the better of the possession stakes but it was Saints who created the only notable opportunity of a weary first half hour. Aberdeen suffered yet more frustration as they followed up their European exit with a goalless draw at St Johnstone.Derek McInnes’ men were hoping to ease the pain of their Europa League defeat to Maribor in midweek as they opened their Scottish Premiership campaign in Perth.But the best chances of a hard-fought 90 minutes fell to the home side’s Graham Cummins and Danny Swanson and the Pittodrie men were forced to settle for a point.McInnes decided to refresh his line-up following the brave efforts of his team in Slovenia. Brian Easton’s shot from distance after 13 minutes was never going to trouble Joe Lewis in the visitors goal but it turned out to be a decent assist as the ball ran into Cummins’ path 12 yards from goal.The Irishman’s finish, however, was just as harmless as his team-mate’s as he fired straight at the keeper.Aberdeen’s first effort came on 34 minutes. Graeme Shinnie fired a pass from out wide into the feet of Stockley and the striker’s first-time lay-off sat up nicely for Ryan Jack but the skipper’s strike was held easily by Alan Mannus.On-loan Bristol City forward Wes Burns was showing up well on his league debut. His pace and clever feet took him past defenders on more than one occasion but his 25-yard free-kick 10 minutes before the break never carried the same threat.The best opening of the match came two minutes from the interval. O’Connor could only clear Joe Shaughnessy’s long throw to Swanson on the edge of the box but his first time hit was pushed away by Lewis.The second period was just as disjointed as the first with both sides frustrated at times by their inability to hold on to the ball.McInnes threw Rooney and McGinn into the fray after 65 minutes but even that did little to sharpen the Dons’ attack.Jack did come up with an strike from 20 yards out but Mannus looked comfortable palming away to his left.Most of the visitors’ best work had come down their left-hand side but too often the final delivery from the likes of Shinnie was poor. Jack did get on the end of Kenny McLean’s centre but could only nod wide.Saints tried to put Lewis under pressure one last time from a corner but the former Cardiff keeper leapt bravely from his line to pluck the ball out of the air just as Davidson careered into his midriff.last_img

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