Aberdeen moved to the top of the SPFL with a superb performance against an inform St Johnstone at Pittodrie this afternoon. May 1991 was the last time the Dons were top of the league in January or later.
The home side got off to a great start when David Goodwillie scored with a superb overhead kick on 6 minutes. After that Aberdeen completely dominated but some good goalkeeping and some bad luck in front of goal kept the scoreline 1-0 at half time.
After the break the Dons continued to control the game and missed a number of great chances, Adam Rooney missing the best one on 54 minutes from close range. At 1-0 St Johnstone were always still in the game but the Dons defence, with Ash Taylor in particular quite outstanding, never really looked like conceding and in injury time Aberdeen hit on the break, Rooney squared it for substitute Cammy Smith who scored from close range and Pittodrie erupted.
That was Cammy's first senior goal at Pittodrie and was thoroughly deserved for all his excellent performances for Paul Sheerin's Development side this season.
Scott Brown has now kept six clean sheets in a row in the league, the first time that has happened since April - August 1989.
For the first game in 2015 Derek McInnes made just one change with a fit again Shay Logan coming in for Craig Murray. So a familiar looking Dons side lined up with Brown in goal, Logan at right back, Reynolds and Taylor in the centre of defence with Considine at left back. Jack was the sitting midfielder with Hayes and Pawlett alongside him with Rooney wide left and McGinn wide right. Goodwillie was upfront.
Aberdeen started the game very strongly and took an early lead, and what a goal it was.
Niall McGinn picked the ball up and went for a mazy run across the pitch. No one stopped him so he checked back and then floated a ball into the box. David Goodwillie controlled it on his chest and then hit a superb overhead kick and the ball flew past Alan Mannus. As well as the goal David had a great game, his work rate was once again fantastic.
On 10 minutes a great chance for the second, the Dons created a two on one at the back and in the end Mannus made a good block to keep out Pawlett. On 12 minutes another really nice move, Jack turned his man, McGinn then made a great little burst into the box and worked some space for a shot which Mannus had to push over the bar.
With 15 minutes gone the Dons were completely dominating the midfield area and were therefore well on top. St Johnstone were struggling to deal with the Dons pace and Chris Millar was shown a yellow card for hauling down Hayes. From the resulting free kick Goodwillie was completely unmarked but just could not get his header on target.
It really was all one way traffic at this stage and the Saints defence was looking uncharacteristically shaky.
After 25 minutes a snap shot from McGinn from distance went over the bar and then on 29 minutes a McGinn corner landed at the feet of two Aberdeen players - Taylor and Considine - but neither of them could get the ball out of their feet.
On 34 minutes Jonny Hayes produced a huge long run. He left blue shirts for dead before firing in a low shot across the keeper. Mannus saved well but was very lucky as he could only parry the shot back out into the area but the ball landed at the feet of Anderson who was able to clear. Then a minute later Mannus was diving at full stretch again after Goodwillie put Frazer Wright on his back with a neat turn but his low shot just went inches past the post.
The Saints were very fortunate only to be a goal down.
On 38 minutes the Dons thought they had got a second goal that their play deserved. A long clearance up the park saw Goodwillie beat Wright to the ball and he played in Pawlett who scored. Referee Craig Thomson awarded the goal however the near side linesman had spotted a hand ball by Goodwillie.
On 44 minutes the visitors won their first corner of the game. Lappin's initial ball was missed by Brown and MacKay's overhead kick was touch goalwards by Steven Anderson and from close range Brown did well to push the ball away to safety. From the second corner Brown did well to come and punch clear and was rewarded with a free kick.
St Johnstone started the second half strongly but then it was all Aberdeen again and they missed a couple of glorious chances to make the game safe.
On 51 minutes a well worked move saw the ball being laid off to Goodwillie and his low right footed shot from just outside the box was saved by Mannus diving full stretched to his right. From the resulting corner Ash Taylor won a clean header from close range but it was just too high.
Then on 54 minutes the Dons wasted a golden chance. After a slick passing move Pawlett made his way to the by-line before playing the ball across the face of goal to Rooney who was coming in at the back post. The ball seemed to take a bobble just in front of the Dons striker and from very close range he bundled the ball past the post. Two minutes later Ryan Jack then put a shot over the bar after another move had completely opened up the Saints defence. After 59 minutes a Considine header from a corner went just past the post.
On 65 minutes the Saints put the Dons under a little pressure with a couple of corners and then their two subs almost combined - James McFadden put over a nice ball but ex Don McDonald at full stretched could not get enough on his header.
Then on the break more bad luck for the Dons after a great challenge on the half way line by Considine. Goodwillie played it to Hayes, and with the keeper out of position the ball was squared to McGinn but with the goal gapping Niall miskicked. There were a number of bodies in his way so it was not an easy chance, but he should have at least hit the target.
On 69 minutes Wotherspoon was booked for a foul on Considine. The Dons won a couple of free kicks in and around the box and Mannus made a very good save to keep out McGinn who had curled the ball round the wall.
With just under 15 minutes to go a double change for the Dons. Cammy Smith came on for Pawlett and Lawrence Shankland for Goodwillie. Minutes after that Jeffrey Monakana came on for Niall McGinn. The subs helped get the energy levels up again as St Johnstone started launching the ball long.
The Dons defence, which has now not conceded a goal in the league for 540 minutes, were very solid in the final ten minutes. Ash Taylor was a rock at the back and won everything in the air. Andrew Considine was also excellent and made a couple of really good tackles. Just when it looked as if someone was going to get the better of him he used his strength to win the ball back.
The crowd of 15,263 were also fantastic in the final stages as they kicked every ball with the players.
In injury time Taylor again headed a ball clear which found Hayes. Jonny had about a four on one but the Dons lost the ball and the chance appeared to have gone. Considine then won the ball back and played a clever ball over the top of the Saints defence. There were players still trying to get back from the previous attack so it was hard to see if Adam Rooney was on side but the striker ran in on goal before squaring it for Cammy Smith who finished well from close range. St Johnstone had claimed Adam Rooney was offside but the RedTV footage shows that Adam's foot was on the half way line when Considine played the pass.
Job done and Aberdeen went to the top of the league.