A Bojan brace saw Aberdeen come from behind to secure a crucial win, giving the Dons a huge boost as they go into the busy, and pivotal, Christmas period.
Barry Robson made four changes to the Aberdeen side that played in the League Cup final on Sunday with Jonny Hayes, Ester Sokler and Jamie McGrath on the bench and Slobodan Rube i suspended. In came Dante Polvara, James McGarry, Angus MacDonald and Duk.
After Livingston drew 0-0 at home to Kilmarnock on Saturday, they made one change, Jamie Brandon replacing Sean Kelly in their side.
Mikey Devlin made his presence quickly felt on his return to Pittodrie, upending Duk with a thumping challenge after four minutes after the Dons had enjoyed some good early possession. Penrice was down needing treatment three minutes later after tangling with Bojan Miovski, but he was quickly back on his feet.
Polvara was the first to try his luck at goal in the tenth minute, a decent effort from 20 yards out that curled just past the goal after some good passing play created an opening. Livingston responded smartly a minute later, a deep Brandon cross picking out Nouble at the back post, but he put his header straight into the gloves of Kelle Roos, who had taken up a good position.
George had to be quick off his line to smother an arcing pass forward from Richard Jensen as Duk closed in on it after 17 minutes. Good persistence from Graeme Shinnie a couple of minutes later saw him barrelling into the box to pull the ball back for Miovski, but the number nine couldn’t find a decisive touch under pressure from a defender.
On 25 minutes, the skipper almost had his side in front. Driving forward after collecting a pass from Polvara, he drove a low shot across the face of goal from 25 yards out that had George scrambling. The goalkeeper could only watch as the ball clipped the inside of the post, rebounded across goal and then somehow spun behind rather than going in.
But it was Livi who were in front on 28 minutes.
A long throw from their right, some 20 yards out, saw Livingston win three consecutive headers that worked the ball through the box to Penrice. He fired a low ball back across goal, Guthrie sliding into the six yard box to divert the ball into the net.
It might have been worse 10 minutes later, Pittman turning on the edge of the box to fire off a shot at goal. Roos got down to his right to save, the ball momentarily looking as if it had got away from him before he recovered to collect.
Aberdeen were back on terms on 42 and it was, of course, Miovski who produced the finish, a decisive, confident header as he was going away from goal, arrowing past George and just inside the post, the goal created by a terrific cross on the run by Nicky Devlin. Old fashioned centre-forward play at its best.
Miovski had made himself a target, Mikey Devlin thundering into a challenge and collecting a yellow card on the brink of the break. Miovski looked to have taken retribution from the free-kick, collecting a backheel from Duk and turning the ball into the net, only for the offside flag to go up.
HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 1 LIVINGSTON 1
Aberdeen started the second half quickly, a Stefan Gartenmann cross in the opening minute finding Graeme Shinnie who helped it on to McGarry. His shot was cleared, Jensen galloping onto it 30 yards out and forcing George into a sharp save at the foot of his post.
Shinnie was driving his team forward again, picking up a loose ball on 48 minutes and playing a pass into the box that was just inches too strong for the advancing Polvara.
McGarry forced George into action on 56 minutes, trying to catch the goalkeeper out at his near post. George parried the ball away, his defenders swooping on the loose ball to clear the danger.
Livingston made their first change two minutes later, Andrew Shinnie replaced by Stephen Kelly. Holt went on a meandering run forward a few moments later but his shot from distance lacked any conviction and was easily pouched by Roos. Shayden Morris replaced McGarry on the hour, the Dons going to a back four.
Duk went on the run down the left, powering into the box, his cross in the 61st minute too strong for any of the Aberdeen players trying to get forward. Penrice was the second player to be booked on 65 minutes for a late challenge on Gartenmann.
The Dons were leading on 66 minutes, Duk wriggling into space on the left to be able to drill in a low cross to Miovski at the near post, the number nine producing a laser guided finish through the narrowest of corridors and into the bottom corner. Goal 14 for the season for Miovski.
The visitors responded by bringing on Anderson with 20 minutes to go, Brandon making way, and he should have scored against his old club three minutes later. A long ball forward by Obileye was flicked on by Guthrie and Anderson was in behind the defence and bearing down on goal only to shape his shot around Roos and wide of the goal. A real let off for the Dons. McGrath Sokler replaced Clarkson and Duk in the 79th minute.
The pace of Morris opened up the Livingston defence with a driving run forward over 70 yards in the 81st minute, but his shot from the edge of the box hadn’t enough power on it and George collected gratefully. He was in action again a minute later, at full stretch to cut out a Sokler cross that looked bound for Miovski in the six-yard box.
Polvara, Sokler and Miovski combined down the left to set up Shinnie to fire over from 25 yards on 83 minutes, Nottingham replaced by Welch-Hayes almost immediately afterwards. Pittman was then carded for a foul on McGrath. Sokler collapsed to the turf off the ball and required treatment in the 86th minute, Devlin coming across him to stop his run, but no card was shown.
Miovski was denied his hat-trick by a reflex action from George on 88, Nicky Devlin heading into the six-yard box only for the goalkeeper to produce a superb sharp save. Seconds later, he was trying an audacious shot across the face of goal from the left corner of the box that was only just over the bar with George left flatfooted.
1 minute added at end 1st half.
4 minutes added at end 2nd half.