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Threat of relegation play-off lingers for Aberdeen after crashing to bottom six defeat to Livingston

Aberdeen's Lewis Ferguson clashes with Max Stryjek.
Aberdeen's Lewis Ferguson clashes with Max Stryjek.

Aberdeen’s disastrous season suffered another low as they crashed to a 2-1 loss to Livingston in the Premiership bottom six.

The Dons are seeing out the Premiership in the bottom six for the first time since 2013.

On the basis of this defeat it is going to be a nervous, bumpy ride for Dons supporters.

The threat of being dragged into a relegation play-off remains.

St Johnstone, who occupy that play-off spot, closed the gap on the Dons by drawing 1-1 with Dundee.

Aberdeen are five points ahead of St Johnstone but must play them away at McDiarmid Park in the penultimate game of the season on May11.

That will be a game of massive significance.

Livingston’s Nicky Devlin and Vicente Besuijen battle for possession.

There was a sense of  injustice at half-time as Aberdeen should have been awarded a penalty in the 40th minute for a foul by keeper Max Stryjek on Vicente Besuijen.

The keeper struck the winger’s face with a hand.

Besuijen dropped to the ground. It should have been a red card and penalty.

Referee Grant Irvine did not award a spot kick and only yellow carded Stryjek.

Bizarrely he also  booked Besuijen.

Salt was poured into Aberdeen’s wounds when within a minute Livingston took the lead through a Nicky Devlin strike.

Referee Grant Irvine and Declan Gallagher of Aberdeen in the game against Livingston.

United States international striker Christian Ramirez was dropped to the bench with Jack MacKenzie coming in.

It was the only change in the starting XI that lost 1-0 to Ross County in the final game before the split to blow the chance of top six action.

It was only the third time in 42 games this season leading scorer Ramirez, on 15 goals, had been dropped to the bench.

Ramirez had suffered an eight game goal drought and has yet to net under new manager Goodwin.

The 31-year-old last scored in the 2-1 Scottish Cup loss away to Motherwell on February 12.

Christian Ramirez arrives at Pittodrie before the clash with Livingston

With Ramirez on the bench the onus of leading the attack fell on Marley Watkins.

Livingston were without manager David Martindale who was admitted to hospital on Friday night having suffered severe abdominal pains.

Martindale was subsequently diagnosed with kidney stones.

Livingston confirmed Martindale is thankfully doing well but was kept in overnight for observation.

Aberdeen created the first opportunity in the sixth minute when Jonny Hayes, operating in a more advanced role on the left wing, broke into the penalty area.

Livingston’s Jon Nouble (left) and David Bates of Aberdeen in action at Pittodrie.

He stepped past a challenge before lifting a shot beyond the far post from 12 yards.

Moments later Funso-King Ojo fired a 22 yard drive wide.

Aberdeen again threatened in the 15th minute as Lewis Ferguson broke down the right flank before cutting a pass inside to Watkins.

Welsh international Watkins curled a shot from 20 yards that flashed inches wide of keeper Max Stryjek’s far post.

The first shot on target, from either side, came in the 32nd minute when a Scott Pittman shot was deflected towards goal by centre-back David Bates.

Aberdeen’s Ross McCrorie and Max Stryjek of Livingston battle for the ball

Aberdeen keeper Joe Lewis blocked at his near post.

A low, low through-ball down the right channel from Ojo released Vicente Besuijen in the 37th minute.

The summer signing cut inside and broke into the box but his shot was deflected wide by Ayo Abileye.

Aberdeen threatened  a moment later when Ross McCrorie headed just wide at the far post from close range.

Livingston’s Nicky Devlin and Aberdeen’s Vicente Besuijen in action.

In the 4oth minute keeper Stryjek should have been red carded and Aberdeen awarded a penalty. Referee Grant Irvine got it wrong on both counts.

Stryjek ran with the ball then struck Besuijen, who was barring his path, pushed his hand into Besuijen’s face.

Besuijen collapsed to the pitch.

With Besuijen poleaxed the Dons were incensed.

It was a clear penalty and Stryjek should have been dismissed.

Bizarrely referee Grant Irvine booked both Besuijen and Stryjek.

Aberdeen’s sense of injustice intensified when they fell behind within a minute of that incident.

Keeper Lewis pulled off a fantastic save to deny a Odin Bailey.

Nicky Devlin scores to make it 1-0 Livingston against Aberdeen.

However, the loose ball fell to Nicky Devlin who drilled home a right footed shot from the centre of the penalty area in the 40th minute.

It was a brutal turnaround for Aberdeen. Within a minute of being denied a clear penalty they were behind.

Referee Irvine walked off at half-time to boos from the Aberdeen supporters.

Aberdeen 0 Livingston 1

Bursting down the left flank Hayes cut inside the penalty area and unleashed a powerful 15 yard drive in the 53rd minute.

Keeper Stryjek was well positioned to block at the near post.

The Dons continued to probe looking for a leveller and Declan Gallagher volleyed over from 15 yards in the 62nd minute.

Aberdeen’s Jack McKenzie and Sean Kelly of Livingston battle at Pittodrie.

It was 2-0 in the 68th minute when Ojo clumsily stuck out a leg to bring down Andrew Shinnie for a penalty.

Jason Holt stepped up to take the penalty. His effort rattled off the underside of the bar and beat Lewis.

Moments later Pittman lofted a shot over Lewis as Livingston looked to increase their advantage.

Jason Holt scores to make it 2-0 Livingston against Aberdeen.

A bad day for the Dons got even worse in the 78th minute when McCrorie received a second yellow for a challenge on Holt and was sent off.

Substitute Ramirez mustered a shot on target in the 82nd minute but it all had the feeling of too little, too late for the Dons.

Aberdeen were awarded a penalty in the 89th minute for a foul by Obileye on Ferguson.

Midfielder Ferguson converted the spot-kick to make it 2-1.

Full-time: Aberdeen 1 Livingston 2

ABERDEEN (4-1-4-1): Lewis 6; MacKenzie 5 (Jenks 80), Bates 5, Gallagher 5 (Ramirez 70), Ojo 5, Barron 6, Hayes 6, Ferguson 6, McCrorie 6, Besuijen 5, Watkins 6 (Ramsay 85).

Subs: Woods, Considine, McLennan, Polvara, Ruth, Milne.

LIVINGSTON (4-3-3): Stryjek 5; Lewis 4 (Longridge 46), Obileye 6, Fitzwater 6, Devlin 6, Kelly 6 (McMillan 65), Pittman 6, Holt 6, Shinnie 6, Nouble 6, Bailey 7.

Subs: Konovalov, Maley, Anderson, Montano, Sibbald,  Boyes. Soto.

Referee: Grant Irvine

Attendance: 12,336

Man-of-the-match: Odin Bailey (Livingston)

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