Prior to the 7-1 hammering at Ibrox, Motherwell had won two on the spin. How would they fare against an Aberdeen side, having won four on the bounce and five of their last six, looking forward to the Betfred Cup final?
Stephen Robinson’s Steelmen made four changes from their Rangers humiliation. Trevor Carson was replaced in goal by Mark Gillespie. The suspended Carl McHugh was replaced in defence by Christian Mbulu. Chris Cadden missed out through injury with Liam Grimshaw filling in at right wing back, Allan Campbell and Danny Johnson replaced the winger and Ryan Bowman up front.
Derek McInnes’ Aberdeen made just the one change from their home victory over Hibs prior to the break. Club stalwart Andy Considine replacing the injured Mikey Devlin in defence.
Dons’ own doing
The Dons started brightly with Niall McGinn’s cross being headed away by the hosts. As Max Lowe recovered on the other side, he centred for club captain Graeme Shinnie arriving from deep. The midfielder opted to use his right foot to shoot but skewed his effort well wide in the end.
However, Aberdeen were the masters of their own downfall. Gary Mackay-Steven took a short corner to Niall McGinn, under great pressure from Allan Campbell. The midfielder ushered the Northern Irishman to go back. And, as he looked to pass inside to a teammate, he instead passed to Danny Johnson well inside his own half.
This gave the striker the chance to run one on one at Shay Logan, still a long way to go mind you. The full back did the right thing in showing the striker onto his weaker left foot but couldn’t get the better of him to intercept and as Johnson cut inside, he ignored the support of Campbell, and finished coolly past Joe Lewis into the bottom corner to give the hosts the lead.
Loanees combine to no avail
The away side looked to respond with Max Lowe, on loan from Derby County, crossing for James Wilson, on loan from Manchester United. The striker met the full back’s cutback but snatched at the shot and sent his right-footed effort over the crossbar and behind.
Gael Bigirimana’s free kick nearly caught out Joe Lewis but the goalkeeper scrambled over to his left hand side to prevent the Dons from falling two behind. Unfortunately, the hosts would score from the resulting corner. Bigirimana again delivering, Main flicking on and as the ball bounced it sat up perfectly for Danny Johnson to nod home and double Motherwell’s advantage.
Two goals in five minutes for the striker, whose first was his first in nine appearances.
Aberdeen were looking to pull one back before half time, Max Lowe rasping an effort at goal following Gary Mackay-Steven’s cross coming all the way over to the left back, avoiding everyone else in the box. Mark Gillespie beat it away and Motherwell went into the interval 2-0 up.
It would take just ten minutes in the second half for the Steelmen to secure the three points by going three in front. The goalscorer Johnson looked to cut back for Curtis Main but as Lewis Ferguson looked to clear, he smashed it off Andy Considine and David Turnbull let the ball bounce and come across him in order to smash it home with his right foot.
The teenager scoring his third goal in four games, the boyhood Motherwell fan loving every minute under Robinson and literally living the dream.
Aberdeen ‘Well beaten
Peter Hartley nodded down a Bigirimana corner kick, who probably should have hit the target, and nearly found Curtis Main but the striker wasn’t anticipating the ball coming his way and therefore failed to make contact.
Scott Wright stung the palms of Gillespie following a wicked shot outside the area as Aberdeen went in search of a consolation goal, but in all honesty they deserved nothing from the match and gifted Motherwell a few goals, something they certainly can’t afford to do on Sunday.
Great response following the Ibrox defeat from Motherwell though, they next travel to West Lothian to take on Livingston in the league on Saturday.