Aberdeen 0-1 St Johnstone
Super-sub Stevie May returned to haunt former club Aberdeen by sealing a 1-0 win for St Johnstone.
The former Dons striker’s low shot from outside the box clinched the Perth side’s first SPFL win of the season.
The goal was May’s first since December and was the different in a cagey, physical game at Pittodrie, where he sprinted to the corner flag to celebrate in the face of the jeering home fans who used to support him.
Saints’ vital result, in arguably their toughest away league fixture of the season so far, marks a great start to a week that sees them contest three away games in eight days.
Heading into the game the boys in blue had three draws and two defeats in the Premiership so far, scoring just two goals.
Manager Callum Davidson made four changes to the 2-1 defeat at home to Rangers last weekend, with new signing Efe Ambrose debuting in the heart of the back three in place of Hayden Muller.
Liam Craig, Ali Crawford and Reece Devine also made way for Glenn Middleton, Callum Booth and Murray Davidson, who made a welcome return from illness to add more experience and steel in midfield.
Aberdeen started brightly winning a free kick in the first few minutes. The resulting ball into the box just averted Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, floating just passed the far post.
Ambrose won the first couple of aerial duels with Christian Ramirez, setting a tone for the Nigerian’s impressive performance.
Striker Chris Kane showed what Perth defending has been all about for the past few years, charging into his own box to clear a threatening pass on 12 minutes.
The away side’s first foray into the Aberdeen third came two minutes later, where the busy Glenn Middleton’s cross from the left wing just evade Shaun Rooney’s head.
The more the half went on the more Saints began to settle, although no clear chances had been created for either side.
Perth fans’ hearts were in their mouths midway through the first half as Murray Davidson clutched his ankle after winning a 50/50 in the middle of the park – but he rallied.
Booth floated an in-swinging cross moments later, evading every player but sailing narrowly wide of the far post as Aberdeen keeper Joe Lewis could only look on.
Aberdeen pushed with more verve after the restart as Wolves loanee Austin Samuels’ low cross was cleared by Ambrose.
On 53 minutes a dangerous Aberdeen ball into the dreaded ‘corridor of uncertainty’ was narrowly missed by Ramirez in what was the first real let off in the game for Saints. A soft Emmanuel-Thomas header was then comfortably held by Clark.
Saints fans thought the deadlock was broken after Middleton tapped in from close range, only to be ruled out for offside.
Stevie May then took to the field for Glenn Middleton after 69 minutes to partner Chris Kane up top.
David Wotherspoon and Kane both saw shots go wide as Aberdeen fans berated a series off inaccurate passes from their players – but worse was to come for them.
Former red May cut inside from the left to strike a low bobbling shot that just evaded the grasp of Lewis, who may have done better, at his near post on 84 minutes.
A chorus of boos rang out from the home crown – but an elated May didn’t care and could be seen beaming as he charged to the corner flag to celebrate with his team mates.
Aberdeen pushed to respond as substitute Declan Gallagher’s towering header flew over.
The imminent Perth victory was soured by the sight of stalwart Murray Davidson hobbling off the turf, with the help of the medical staff, as he clutched his lower back.
Saints played the final stages with 10 men but held firm for their first Premiership win of the season.