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ANALYSIS: Staring into bottom six abyss is proof Aberdeen needed a stronger January transfer window

Aberdeen's Lewis Ferguson goes down in the box looking for a penalty against Livingston.
Aberdeen's Lewis Ferguson goes down in the box looking for a penalty against Livingston.

Aberdeen crashed into the Premiership bottom six and are showing no signs they can climb out.

Anyone with any doubt the Dons emerged weaker from the January transfer window need only look at this defeat.

This performance and result are not in isolation – that is the over-riding concern.

Aberdeen are in a slump, again, and the season is in danger of being completely derailed by their atrocious away form.

In 14 domestic away games this season (13 Premiership, one League Cup) the Reds have won just two.

That form on the road is setting alarm bells ringing ahead of a potentially season defining Scottish Cup tie away to Motherwell on Saturday.

With no replays in the Scottish Cup this season – if Aberdeen do not end their away day blues the silverware bid will end at Fir Park.

Livingston’s Keeper Max Stryjek collides with Aberdeen’s David Bates

Bottom six form, not Euro form

European qualification hopes will also slip away if this form does not improve.

Aberdeen have taken just two points from 12 since the Premiership returned from the winter break last month. That is bottom six form – not European qualifying form.

The mathematics of 2022 make depressing reading.

Six players out, three in during the window and two points from 12.

For a dire 70 minutes Aberdeen lacked composure, direction, spark and dig.

The absence of captain Scott Brown, sat on the bench, was sorely missed.

Livingtson’s Jack Fitzwater holds onto a falling Vicente Besuijen

Aberdeen had a strong penalty shout rejected in the first half for a foul on Lewis Ferguson but referee Kevin Clancy was not to blame for this defeat.

The Dons and the management team were wholly culpable for this loss.

Now the January window has shut there is no real scope to change things or improve the squad, bar free agents.

The majority of free agents are not signed to a club for a reason. They are either not fit or are not in form.

Aberdeen have secured only five clean sheets in 31 games in all competition this season.

The trend is that they are likely to concede- and all too often there isn’t enough creativity or cutting edge to get two goals for the win.

Aberdeen have the sixth worst away league return in Scottish senior football.

Livingston’s Ayo Obileye puts his side 1-0 up against Aberdeen.

Only Dundee, Ayr United (Championship), East Fife (League One), Cowdenbeath and Albion Rovers (League Two) have poorer away records.

All five of those clubs are either bottom of their division or battling relegation.

Aberdeen delivered a disappointing January transfer window.

The away form alone should have screamed out that they needed to strengthen.

In a fiery match referee Kevin Clancy brandished 13 yellow cards with another one for Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass.

Aberdeen made three changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Ross County in Dingwall on Tuesday night.

Keeper Joe Lewis was ruled out having taken ill on the morning of the game and was replaced by Gary Woods.

Influential skipper Brown dropped to the bench as did Dylan McGeouch.

Coming in was on loan Celtic left-back/midfielder Adam Montgomery for a debut and Teddy Jenks.

Livingston’s Jack Fitzwater clears the ball away from Aberdeen’s Christian Ramirez

Terrible first half from Aberdeen

Livingston grabbed the lead in the eighth minute when Bruce Anderson fired a low drive from 20 yards.

With his back to goal Ayo Obileye flicked a shot on the half turn with his left foot beyond Woods.

It was a disastrous start for Aberdeen who should have dealt with the initial delivery from former Dons striker Anderson far better.

Aberdeen were denied a clear penalty claim in the 18th minute when Lewis Ferguson raced towards the near post in an attempt to meet a Calvin Ramsay.

However the midfielder went down after Adam Lewis grabbed Ferguson’s shirt and pulled him down onto the pitch.

Referee Kevin Clancy waved play on to Ferguson’s clear frustration.

Livingston’s Christian Montano tackles Aberdeen’s Adam Montgomery

It was the second game since the winter break Clancy has denied Aberdeen a stonewall penalty kick.

Aberdeen were furious when Clancy waved off a clear penalty in the 1-1 draw with Rangers on January 18 when Ryan Hedges was poleaxed by Allan McGregor.

There was deja-vu for the Aberdeen management, players and travelling Red Army.

Livingston increased their lead in the 52nd minute when Cristiano Montano played Forrest through on goal behind a flat and static back-line.

Forrest raced in to the box then displayed tremendous composure to lift a 12 yard shot beyond Woods.

It should have been 3-0 moments later when former Aberdeen striker Anderson curled an effort from the edge of the box that cracked off the far post.

Ramirez scores but too little, too late

The Dons hit back in the 66th minute when substitute Matty Kennedy, on for just a minute, knocked down a cross from Hayes.

Striker Christian Ramirez lashed home a vicious volley for his 13th goal of the season.

Aberdeen were denied in the 79th minute when Hayes whipped in a dangerous cross to Ferguson, but his powerful header was saved by Max Stryjek.

Aberdeen bombarded the Livingston penalty area late on with David Bates and Ramirez both having shots saved. There were scrambles, and desperate clearances but no goals.

It was all too little too late for Aberdeen.

ABERDEEN (4-2-3-1): Woods 5; Hayes 6, Bates 5, McCrorie 5, Ramsay 5 (Kennedy 64), Ferguson 5, Ojo 5, Montgomery 5 (Emmanuel-Thomas 85), Jenks 4 (MacKenzie 46), Besuijen 5, Ramirez 6.

Subs: Ritchie, Gallagher, Brown, McGeouch, Ruth,  Milne.

LIVINGSTON (4-3-3): Stryjek 6, Devlin 7, Fitzwater 6, Obileye 6, Penrice 6, Omeonga 7, Holt 6, Lewis 5 (Pittman 46), Montano 5, Anderson 7 (Chukweumeka 85), Forrest 7 (Boyes 85)

Subs: Maley,  McMillan,  Bailey, Sibbald, Kelly, Longridge.

Referee: Kevin Clancy

Man-of-the-match: Alan Forrest (Livingston)