Hamilton 2 - 2 Aberdeen: Dons lose ground at the top
Hamilton defender Xavier Tomas had claimed on the eve of this game that Aberdeen have a psychological problem when it comes to playing on their widely detested synthetic surface and their recent record at the SuperSeal Stadium – three defeats and two draws since 2014 – lends credence to that argument.
Manager Derek McInnes, who continues to be linked with the vacancy at Rangers, conceded afterwards that his team had been far from their best.
“I would like to talk about the positives of coming from behind but it is difficult when you’ve lost two points,” he said.
“Sometimes you have to hold your hands up when you don’t play your best and take the point.
“We’ve won nine of our last 10 away games and we came here with the intention of winning so, when you work as hard as we did and don’t win, there is always going to be disappointment.
“I don’t think we were quite good enough for any real period of time to win the game.
“We had some really good moments and some moments of sloppiness. We gave them too much encouragement.”
That may have been preying on their minds when they fell behind after an uneventful opening period of play.
Scott McKenna was harshly penalised for a challenge on David Templeton 20 yards out and Accies captain Dougie Imrie added injury to insult when he drilled the resulting free-kick behind Joe Lewis.
The Dons defence was caught out by a route-one punt which left Templeton one-on-one with Lewis but the attempted lob from former Hearts winger lacked elevation and the goalkeeper, at full stretch, made the save.
Docherty’s cross then found Templeton unmarked at the far post but he volleyed wide from 10 yards and Accies paid for his profligacy when the visitors equalised shortly afterwards.
An incisive pass from Graeme Shinnie released Greg Stewart and he dinked the ball over the advancing Gary Woods to claim his first goal since his loan move from Birmingham City.
It had been a rare glimpse of the quality Aberdeen undoubtedly possess and they were fortunate not to be behind at the interval after being outplayed.
The game became more stretched after the break but the hosts continued to give as good as they got.
Woods produced a fine reflex save on the hour to keep out Stewart’s near-post header from a Stevie May corner while, at the other end, Templeton fired wide with Antonio Rojano screaming for a square ball and then Darren Lyon shot into the side netting after taking the ball round Lewis.
However, Aberdeen edged in front 16 minutes from time when, from another May corner, Kari Arnason charged into the box to power home a header from six yards.
As so often, though, having just scored themselves, they immediately conceded when Templeton finally found his range, beating Lewis low to his left from the far corner of the 18-yard box.
That ended the scoring and home manager Martin Canning was thrilled by his players’ response to falling behind.
“It was pleasing that we bounced back and equalised straight away because four times this season we’ve taken the lead and then gone 2-1 down, quite often in the last few minutes of the game,” he said.
“Here we had more time to get back into it but we showed strength of character to do what we did and that was pleasing.”