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Aberdeen 2 Kilmarnock 1: Hosts something of a league apart as hits keep on coming

Forget the temporary blip when Kris Boyd's early strike sent a deafening silence round Pittodrie and brought the singing of Peter Pawlett Baby, the Aberdeen fans' unlikely chart-topping song, to a halt.

Aberdeen striker Adam Rooney shoots through a clutch of players from the edge of the penalty area to equalise in the 18th minute, cancelling out Kris Boyd's opening strike. Picture: SNS
Aberdeen striker Adam Rooney shoots through a clutch of players from the edge of the penalty area to equalise in the 18th minute, cancelling out Kris Boyd's opening strike. Picture: SNS

The Pittodrie pitch was a one-way street, whichever direction the home side were facing, and Boyd's goal merely jogged them into re-establishing their concentration and application to duty.

Certainly Andrew Considine, like his team-mates still experiencing the warm glow of praise following their League Cup triumph, never believed they were in danger of dropping points to relinquish their second place in the SPFL Premiership, despite that 12th minute set-back, although he did concede that many of the fans in red and white could have thought: "Uh-oh, here we go again."

But, perhaps recognising that defeat - or even dropping two points - would render their open-top League Cup parade down Union Street yesterday anticlimactic, they stuck to their guns to overwhelm the visitors, despite the scoreline suggesting otherwise. "I looked everyone in the eye," the centre-back said, "and could see that it wasn't over. We've got the bit between our teeth now. I know the boys here want more. Why not be greedy? I would like to think the floodgates will open. We've got the squad, we've got the players. I'm not going to get ahead of myself, but we've got the talent here to do that kind of thing [winning trophies] most seasons. It's been a phenomenal week for the whole city and for every fan who has been begging for some silverware. But I would say our win against Kilmarnock was almost better, because I felt we needed to stay in second place."

If Niall McGinn's two misses from six yards were of concern, Derek McInnes, the Aberdeen manager, refused to vocalise such thoughts, instead singing the praises of the Northern Ireland internationalist whose goal-scoring - he hit 21 last season - has deserted him.

Adam Rooney, flavour of the month largely because it was his penalty in the cup final shoot-out that secured the trophy last week, reinvigorated the home support with a well-taken equaliser six minutes after Boyd's opener. And when weary and overworked legs in the visiting defence could not clear Considine's low free-kick across the area, Ryan Jack drilled home the winner with 18 minutes remaining.

The post-match expression on the face of Allan Johnston, the Kilmarnock manager, told the story of his season, although he attempted to put a favourable spin on the game from his side's point of view.

He suggested his team were dangerous on the counterattack when Jamie Langfield, the Aberdeen goalkeeper, had been largely redundant and Boyd, a lone figure up front, appeared frustrated by a lack of service and two solid opponents in Russell Anderson and Mark Reynolds.

There was skill and vision from Alexei Eremenko when he was deployed in midfield as a replacement for Michael Gardyne 20 minutes from time but, alas for the visitors, no sign of making the breakthrough. Retaining SPFL Premiership status is crucial for Kilmarnock - already financially hampered - and will be avoided, as Johnston stated rather obviously, "only if performances and results improve".

"We are where we are," he added, "because we lose too many goals, but we have many big characters in our team and they can make a difference."

Those big characters were not terribly visible at Pittodrie.

Meanwhile, Vitalijs Maksimenko, on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion, made an impressive debut for the Rugby Park side at centre-back and now hopes to be a force for his parent club next term and be part of the Latvia national side for 2016 European Championship qualification.

"I need to take everything step by step," he said. "I need to play a lot of games here before the end of the season. Then I have to go back to Brighton to get games there or somewhere else on loan because I am looking forward to the next qualifying group for Latvia with games against great teams like Holland, Turkey and the Czech Republic."

On his showing at Aberdeen, Kilmarnock could do worse than try to retain him beyond the summer.

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