Aberdeen take on St. Johnstone in very peculiar circumstances, having played just once in the league this season despite this being the fifth round of fixtures.
To say it has been a stop-start beginning to the season for Aberdeen would be an understatement and it doesn’t help that they have been sitting on an opening day defeat to Rangers for three weeks now.
They will be itching to put that result right as soon as possible, but will undoubtedly lack the match sharpness that St Johnstone have at this stage.
St Johnstone have played three games, missing one due to COVID-19. However, their season has flown far more fluidly than Aberdeen and one would expect that they will settle the quickest.
Callum Davidson’s avoided a real nightmare start to the season thanks to a late, late show against Kilmarnock last time out.
After picking up just one point from two games, St Johnstone looked to be heading for another defeat, but they made use of a man advantage to score twice inside the last five minutes and collect three points.
They should be bouncing after that miraculous comeback and will hope to kick on from that result. With Aberdeen also desperately seeking a positive result, this could end in stalemate.
Aberdeen created some decent chances in their sole league encounter this season at home to Rangers and would expect to create several more against any club that isn’t Celtic.
It helps that their opponents have failed to keep a clean sheet in the league this season and present several opportunities for every team they face.
Chances are Aberdeen will probably dominate the ball and should have enough about them to convert at least one opportunity on Thursday. St Johnstone, meanwhile, will hope that Aberdeen’s rustiness leads to defensive lapses.
They did look very short of ideas against Kilmarnock until the hosts were reduced to ten and only won the game through a colossal defensive error in stoppage time.
That said, they will hope to find the net at least once on Thursday.
Choosing a correct goalscorer between this two is incredibly tough. St Johnstone don’t score a lot of goals and, when they do find the back of the net, it seems to come from a wide range of areas.
Their three goals this season have come from midfield and a look at last season’s top scorers doesn’t make the task any easier.
Callum Hendry finished as top scorer last season, not exactly something to brag about since he notched just seven goals in the league. However, he does seem the most reliable option to find the back of the net for the home side on Thursday.
Aberdeen are harder still to predict. They failed to score in their one league game this season and last season’s top scorer Sam Cosgrove, easily the best goalscorer at either club, faces four months out with a knee injury.
In his absence, Johnny Hayes or Niall McGinn look the most likely to find the back of the net for Aberdeen, but since neither play through the middle, Hendry remains the most reliable option.
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