TIMING is everything for Ryan Hedges. Having overcome a season ending injury months ahead of schedule, he popped up within four minutes of his return to keep Aberdeen in the race for third place with just a fortnight of the campaign to go. 

The mercurial winger’s fine second-half finish was enough to hold off the advances of Livingston and move the Dons to within three points of Jack Ross’ Hibs ahead of a crucial Pittodrie showdown next week. 

It was quite the comeback for the Welshman, who not so long ago went under the knife for a pectoral injury and was told he had run his race for the year. 

“It wasn’t a nice one,” the 25-year-old said of his injury. “I had four weeks in a sling not being able to do much but since then I have been able to kick on and thankfully I am back playing and not sitting in the stands.

HeraldScotland: Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass

“We were looking at four to six months and I would have been lucky to see the start of next season.

“It’s real credit to the physios, mainly Adam Stokes, and my willingness to try and get back and be amongst it.”  

With the trademark swish of his left foot, Hedges didn’t waste any time in reminding everyone of his talents on Saturday. He has that indiscernible quality so few possess, and it was a fitting way to introduce himself to new manager Stephen Glass. 

“Since he came in it has been a real breath of fresh air,” Hedges, whose teammate Callum Hendry opened the scoring, said of his new manager. “With Covid and him having to wait a few weeks to come in wasn’t great because he wanted to come in and work with the boys straightaway.

“But on the whole I have been really impressed with the manager.” 

One man who wouldn’t have been happy to see Hedges return with a bang was Nicky Devlin, the Livingston defender. 

David Martindale’s Lions - who scored a late consolation through Jay Emmanuel-Thomas - sit just a point ahead of sixth placed St Johnstone in their quest to secure a historic European place. 

HeraldScotland: Nicky Devlin, left Nicky Devlin, left

“If you’d have offered us sixth at the start of the season, we’d have taken it,” Devlin, 27, said. “But we have put ourselves in a great position to finish fifth and that’s where we want to get to.

“It’s still a possibility that it could be European football. We have to give ourselves the best chance of getting there.”