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Aberdeen 1 St Johnstone 1: Not much to dissect but May remains a cut above

It might have been the fact that these sides were facing each other for the seventh time this season that resulted in it reaching only a couple of levels above dull.

Chris Millar, left, battles for the ball with Aberdeen's Barry Robson at Pittodrie on Saturday afternoon. Picture: SNS
Chris Millar, left, battles for the ball with Aberdeen's Barry Robson at Pittodrie on Saturday afternoon. Picture: SNS

Yet, there were moments which offered opportunities for those who repaired to the Pittodrie Bar, a stone's throw from the stadium, to dissect some of the more interesting aspects of the 90 minutes that matched the grey mist hovering above the stadium.

What was going through the mind of Clark Robertson, for example, when he chose to send a long, angular pass back to Jamie Langfield, the Aberdeen goalkeeper, before the 22 players had even broken sweat?

You do not present Stevie May, the much talked-about St Johnstone striker, with such an opportunity, one from which he duly dispatched his 27th goal of the season. Then, even if you were not a fan of the Perth side, you would wonder why Chris Millar's similar aberration on the half-hour mark allowed Adam Rooney to collect the loose ball and equalise.

But, aside from those incidents and a series of spectacular stops by Alan Mannus, a consistently-competent St Johnstone goalkeeper, there was little to analyse. The only other talking point was Langfield's momentary lapse in the closing moments when he lifted his left foot a little too high for the pass from Mark Reynolds, and listened to the relief as the ball found its way under the boot before slipping inches past the post.

Putting all that to one side, the home supporters may also have noticed the energy and enthusiasm of May and accepted what a special player he is and, more topically, whether he will still be wearing Perth blue beyond the summer.

Millar believes that, were the 21-year-old to remain at McDiarmid Park, it would do his development no harm. On the other hand, the experienced midfielder insisted that his colleague is good enough to compete in the Sky Bet Championship or even in the Barclays Premier League and that any club below those levels would not be good enough to accommodate him.

Millar was right to stress that St Johnstone are not a one-man band, however, and that May thrives on the service provided to him.

"I hope he goes on to get 30 goals by the end of the season," he said. "He deserves it as he's a great lad whose really level-headed and just wants to enjoy his football. If he does decide that he wanted to try down south then he would be able to get a better club [than those who have expressed interest]."

This was a reference to the likes of Peterborough United and Preston North End, who have already been sniffing around May.

"But he enjoys his football here, he loves it as he's a local lad who supports the club and if he did stay it wouldn't do any harm in terms of developing his game further," Millar added. "No disrespect to the clubs that made offers in the past but I don't think they would have been the right move for him.

"Playing in the Premiership against the likes of Celtic and in big games like cup finals now is better for your development than going down to a League One club in England.

"If he's going down south then on his current goal scoring form he needs to be going to a Championship or even Premiership team."

Tommy Wright, the St Johnstone manager, will be given a clearer indication this week on the plans of his star striker, who may well be disposed to take 12 more months with his home-town club to aid his evolution as a footballer.

But, as Millar pointed out: "He has a real talent for scoring goals and when that happens you've always got chances [to move on] as that knack is priceless."

For Aberdeen, this was as anti-climatic as it can get. A win would have secured them a place in the Europa League qualifiers, yet they could not rise to the challenge as they recorded their fifth draw in their last six SPFL Premiership fixtures.

The disappointment - some might say, anger - was writ large over the face of Derek McInnes, their manager, after the game.

Jonny Hayes, the Aberdeen winger, summed up the feeling of the players succinctly. "It wasn't good enough by our standards," he said.

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