Aberdeen continue fine form by punishing Livingston

Aberdeen’s revival under interim manager Peter Leven continued as they secured a fourth consecutive win with a 5-1 hammering of relegated Livingston.

After falling behind to Tete Yengi’s penalty, Junior Hoilett scored twice while captain Graeme Shinnie, Dante Polvara and 16-year-old Fletcher Boyd also found the net as the Dons stayed above Hibernian in the race for seventh spot in the cinch Premiership.

Showing five changes from their 4-0 win over Hibs on Sunday, the hosts displayed their intent early, forcing three corners in the opening five minutes.

They really should have broken the deadlock in the seventh minute, when Hoilett’s shot was parried by Shamal George, and Polvara somehow contrived to blast wide from eight yards.

Aberdeen’s push for an opener continued, with Luis Lopes’ deflected effort coming back off the upright, while Shinnie flashed an effort over the bar after great build-up play from Polvara and Hoilett.

Jimmy McGarry, on a rare outing, was next to have a crack at goal, hitting wide from the edge of the area, but Livingston were starting to come into the game, and only a timely intervention from Nicky Devlin kept the scores level as Yengi

Steven Kelly flashed an effort over the bar for David Martindale’s side as half-time approached, but the scores remained deadlocked at the interval.

The visitors took the lead after VAR spotted a handball by Ester Sokler and awarded a spot-kick with Yengi blasting into the top-right corner.

Aberdeen's Fletcher Boyd
Aberdeen’s Fletcher Boyd celebrates after scoring his side’s fifth goal against Livingston

The lead lasted just seven minutes though, as Hoilett’s delicate 25-yard free-kick curled neatly inside the left-hand upright, after Michael Nottingham’s less than delicate challenge on Polvara.

The Canadian was given the chance to repeat the feat from an identical position after a foul on McGarry, but this time fired well over.

But Hoilett became provider as the game was turned on its head.

He swung in the right-wing corner from which Shinnie headed home to put the home side in front.

It was soon 3-1 after as a clever Leighton Clarkson free-kick saw Polvara played in down the side of the Livi defence, and he blasted past George at the near post.

They were not done yet as Hoilett popped up in the centre of the box to turn home a third goal in an incredible seven-minute spell, from Shinnie’s pass.

Goalkeeper Ross Doohan made a fine save to deny Yengi late on, before Boyd fired home a superb 20-yard effort deep in stoppage time, his second goal in two substitute appearances.

What the managers said…

Aberdeen boss Peter Leven: “He’s [Junior Hoilett] a great player. What a professional. I’ve said that to the club, and I’ve said that to Junior. I would love to keep him at the club, but obviously that’s for the next manager and the club to talk about.

“I’ve said to the club on numerous occasions that I would love to see him here. He’s different class and I could reel off loads of performances he’s put in.

“We missed a lot of chances in the first half, but I knew and believed we would create and score, and we were clinical in the end.”

Livingston boss David Martindale: “I thought we were fortunate to come in at 0-0. It’s an Aberdeen team who have a bit of momentum behind them, but we never quite got to grips with it.

“It’s been the story of the season – we’ve had moments where we’ve been really good collectively, but there have been big moments where we’ve let ourselves down both individually and collectively.

“I’ve got to tidy up all over the park, but it’s not been good enough defensively. I’m not just talking about the defensive unit, it’s everyone on the park – and myself.

“It doesn’t matter the permutations, the formations – it’s been the story of the season and I’ve got to take responsibility for that.”

What’s next?

Aberdeen’s final Scottish Premiership match of the season is away to Ross County on Sunday, while Livingston host Hibernian.

Both games kick off at 3pm.

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