It’s just as well for St Johnstone that the mid-season transfer window shuts at the end of January.
Because if it was still open they might have to start worrying about bids coming in for their star midfielder.
Ali McCann’s contribution to Saints’ surge away from relegation trouble after the winter break has been stunning.
A classy sixth minute goal was his third in four games and, combined with a magnificent team effort, secured three points for the McDiarmid Park side.
The gap of nine points to the bottom and eight to second bottom is starting to look like one that will mean the days of Saints being talked about as candidates for the drop will soon be in the past.
Tommy Wright made three changes to his starting line-up from the weekend. Out went Scott Tanser and Liam Gordon (both injured), while Chris Kane dropped to the bench. In came Callum Booth, Jason Holt and Michael O’Halloran.
The Dons team featured the man who scored the equaliser for Saints the last time these sides met – January Pittodrie recruit Matty Kennedy. Ronald Hernandez made his Aberdeen debut at right-back.
Within two minutes Kennedy was running at the Saints defence down the left but when he cut inside McCann was able to stop his former team-mate from getting a shot away.
Aberdeen’s bright start didn’t last long, though. They were 1-0 down four minutes later.
It was fine goal from a Saints point of view but a dreadful one defensively.
Deep in his own half Liam Craig was able to play a long ball through the middle that found a huge space between the Aberdeen centre-backs.
McCann was the player who charged through it and lifted his finish over Joe Lewis and into the net.
The early goal certainly settled Saints and they took control of the contest.
On 12 minutes David Wotherspoon sent a cross from the left to the far post where O’Halloran got in behind his marker and headed the ball back into the danger area. Unfortunately there were no takers.
Derek McInnes was forced to make a change to his defence on 20 minutes when Ash Taylor pulled up with what looked to be a recurrence of his hamstring injury. He was replaced by Mikey Devlin.
Moments later a Stevie May lay-off gave O’Halloran the opportunity to drive into the box off the right. With the angle tight, a cross might have been a better bet than a shot but he took it on and sliced his effort wide.
It was Wright’s turn to make an injury substitution on 27 minutes. O’Halloran hobbled off, with Drey Wright taking his place.
Saints were looking extremely comfortable but Jamie McCart conceded a needless corner just after the half-hour mark. Kennedy took it and picked out Scott McKenna whose near post run had caught out McCann. The centre-back’s header was a powerful one but flashed just wide.
There was a significant switch in momentum as the minutes ticked down to half-time and McCann made a superb defensive header to divert a dangerous Ryan Hedges free-kick away from trouble.
Seconds later the Aberdeen winger was on the ball again and he forced Zander Clark to make his first save of the game when he kept his left foot 22-yarder on target.
With four minutes of stoppage time added on, getting to the break a goal to the good was a job well done for the Perth team.
The pattern of play was similar when the game resumed, though. Without O’Halloran’s pace, Saints were struggling to get up the pitch and Clark had another save to make to keep out a low Sam Cosgrove strike from just inside the box on 50 minutes.
May’s race was run on 60 minutes, with Kane taking on the role of lone striker in his place.
A lull of 15 minutes or so without much happening at the midway point of the second half was just what Saints needed and the nearest thing to an Aberdeen chance in that time was a hopeful ball into the box that Clark came to claim.
The visitors weren’t exactly threatening a second goal, mind you. They did earn a corner on 69 minutes – their first of the half – but nothing came of it.
There was also a free-kick in a promising position a few minutes later which they made a mess of when Wotherspoon picked out Craig. He got caught in two minds and ended up neither shooting nor passing.
Clark produced an excellent reflex save to deny McKenna from close range on 77 minutes after substitute Niall McGinn picked him out. The ball came back out to Cosgrove but he couldn’t cash in off the rebound.
Saints knew it was going to be their night when a Niall McGinn stoppage time free-kick from 25 yards beat Clark but came back off his right hand post.
That was the final chance of the game and Wright’s men had their victory.
Attendance – 12,552.