Aberdeen 0-2 St Johnstone: Match Report
Saints leave it late to stun Aberdeen
Danny Swanson netted a controversial late goal and Craig Thomson added a second to give St Johnstone a hard-fought victory over Aberdeen at Pittodrie.
With Celtic having demolished Rangers earlier in the afternoon, a win for Aberdeen would have all but sealed a third consecutive runners-up spot in the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership.
But they will have to wait at least a week longer after losing out to Saints in a match the home side dominated for the first hour.
The key moment came 10 minutes from time. Joe Lewis parried a Swanson shot and Ryan Jack took a touch before the Dons goalkeeper gathered the ball.
Referee Alan Muir ruled it was a back pass and, from the resulting indirect free-kick, Liam Craig set up Swanson to score.
Thomson sealed the win with a breakaway goal three minutes later.
Neither keeper was unduly tested in a first half of few chances.
Adam Rooney diverted Graeme Shinnie's 20-yard effort towards goal after only seven minutes, albeit without causing Alan Mannus in the Saints goal any real concern.
Referee Muir was the busiest man, intervening to calm tempers after a clash between Chris Millar and Aberdeen midfielder Ryan Christie.
Millar avoided punishment for a body check on Jonny Hayes, much to the anger of the home fans, but the Saints man was forced out through injury after just 35 minutes.
The hosts had the best chance of the half a minute before the break, Hayes swinging over a teasing cross which Kenny McLean was unable to direct on target.
McLean was presented with another opening a minute after half-time, but, with a crowded area to negotiate, he rushed his shot and fired wide.
Mannus was quickly across his goal to deny Ryan Christie after McLean's corner and, when the ball eventually fell to Ash Taylor, his wild shot was way off target.
McLean then fired over from distance, while at the other end Saints captain Steven Anderson headed wide from Craig's free-kick and Swanson fizzed a long-range effort wide.
The breakthrough came following Muir's controversial intervention, Swanson applying the finish with a curling a low shot inside the far post.
And Swanson then turned provider, playing in substitute Thomson to lash a shot across the exposed Lewis and into the net.