St Mirren 1-1 Aberdeen - Report

The Buddies must have thought the long wait for victory was over when Steven Thompson handed the home side the lead in Paisley.

But Peter Pawlett struck with just five minutes to go as the Dons returned to the Granite City with a share of the spoils.

The result means a question mark remains over Saints boss Danny Lennon's position, as his players squandered the opportunity to leapfrog Kilmarnock into 10th spot in the table.

They now face their biggest test of the campaign so far when they travel to Tynecastle at the weekend to take on bottom side Hearts, who started the season with a 15-point deduction and who will be determined to close the gap further on St Mirren.

Lee Mair - who had previously been told he was free to leave the Paisley club - made his first appearance of the season when he was added to the Saints side, along with John McGinn, Darren McGregor and Sean Kelly, who made his first start.

The Dons arrived at St Mirren Park undefeated in their last five outings, with Andrew Considine and Scott Vernon replacing Clark Robertson and Nicky Low in the starting line-up.

But, despite contrasting fortunes heading into the match, there was nothing to separate the two sides as this tussle ended all-square.

Aberdeen started brightly and dominated possession in the opening spell, with a Calvin Zola shot deflected out of play for a corner that the visitors failed to capitalise on.

Vernon then tried his luck with a header that was comfortably claimed by goalkeeper Chris Dilo.

Saints managed to soak up the early pressure before gradually imposing themselves upon the game, albeit Thompson looked like he needed more support up front.

McGinn did raise the excitement levels among the home support when he unleashed a powerful low drive from distance that stung the palms of Jamie Langfield.

A great surging run by McGregor into the box was then intercepted by Ryan Jack and the ball shepherded back to Langfield, with half-time approaching and the match still deadlocked.

The Dons made their first change at the break, swapping Vernon for Low, as boss Derek McInnes shuffled his pack.

But it was Saints who surged into the lead with 54 minutes on the clock.

Paul McGowan delivered a cross from the left into the box, which was controlled by Thompson before rifling home as the Saints fans went wild.

At the other end, Aberdeen could have been back on level terms quickly but Dilo did well to block a ferocious free-kick from Jonny Hayes.

Saints looked like a side now playing with confidence as they searched for the second goal, with Stephane Bahoken thrown into the action to offer support to Thompson.

But it was Kenny McLean who almost doubled the home side's advantage when he screwed inches past the upright.

Niall McGinn, Aberdeen's top goal-scorer last season, made his return from injury when he came off the bench with 15 minutes to go as the visitors tried to haul themselves back into the game.

And he almost delivered with a shot that had Dilo beaten in the Saints goal but crashed off the post as the home side breathed a sigh of relief.

However, Aberdeen did manage to restore parity with just five minutes to go in what was a cruel blow for the Buddies.

Considine met a Hayes corner and saw his shot blocked before Pawlett reacted first to drive home the rebound and claim a share of the points.