Low blow sinks Staggies
Nicky Low's (l) goal saw Aberdeen claim all three points

Low blow sinks Staggies

Aberdeen reclaim third place in the Scottish Premiership

jamie-hall
Jamie Hall

An early costless kick from Nicky Low was enough to see Aberdeen defeat Ross County at Pittodrie.

Scott Vernon saw a penalty kick saved as the hosts passed up a number of chances to make the scoreline more convincing.

The result means they climb to third in the Premiership, while County remain eleventh.

Although manager Derek McInnes will be pleased to have secured all three points, he will be frustrated that his side failed to kill off a team who failed to record a single shot on target during the game.

The hosts piled on the pressure straight from the kick off, and opened the scoring just two minutes in. Peter Pawlett won a costless kick on the edge of the area, and Low, starting in place of the rested Barry Robson, curled home magnificently beyond visiting goalkeeper Michael Fraser.

The second goal could and perhaps should have arrived minutes later. Pawlett was in the thick of the action once again, bursting into the area, and was sent tumbling by County defender Marc Klok. Referee Calum Murray awarded the penalty and Scott Vernon stepped up, but his well struck effort was stopped magnificently by Fraser. 

The visitors survived a final scare before half time, with defender Scott Boyd deflecting Niall McGinn's shot onto the post.

Half time: 1-0

The second half was a more subdued affair. Staggies manager Derek Adams threw on Gary Glen and Darren Maatsen in an attempt to get back into the game, but the hosts remained on the front foot.

McGinn twice dragged shots wide, while substitute Cammy Smith stung Fraser's palms with a long-range effort as the Dons saw out the final minutes with the minimum of fuss.

The Dons now go into the New Year's Day derby with Dundee United in good shape, three points ahead of the Arabs. Meanwhile, County travel to Inverness knowing that a win would take them back to within one point of tenth-placed Partick Thistle.

Line-ups

Aberdeen: Langfield; Shaughnessy, Hector, Reynolds, Hayes; Flood, Jack (Robson); McGinn, Pawlett (Smith), Low; Vernon (Magennis).

Ross County: Fraser; Saunders (De Leeuw), Klok, Boyd, Gordon; Cooper (Maatsen), Brittain, Kettlewell, McLean, Carey; Mustafi (Glen).

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