St Johnstone midfielder David Wotherspoon admitted that he feared he was part of a Pittodrie sequel that was coming up with a horribly familiar finale.
The former Hibs man had a free-kicked tipped on to the post by Aberdeen keeper Joe Lewis at the exact point of the game that it happened when the teams met in their Betfred Cup quarter-final a couple of months ago.
It was the same type of free-kick, the same post, the same quality of finger-tip stop, the same unhelpful rebound off the woodwork and the same scoreline at the time.
Thankfully for Wotherspoon and his team-mates, there wasn’t the same sting in the tail and an Aberdeen winner.
“I didn’t think the keeper touched it at the time,” Wotherspoon said. “But Zander Clark was speaking to him afterwards and he said he did.
“It was the exact same and the boys looked at me and thought ‘is this going to happen again?’
“It was in the back of our minds they nicked a goal in the last minute in the cup game, but we defended really well, so I was confident the boys would handle it and they did.”
The cup goal was cruel on Saints, who had matched Aberdeen that night.
It would have been even crueller on Saturday had they lost, as they out-numbered their hosts by about four very good chances to one on this occasion.
Murray Davidson missed the target from a Steven MacLean cut-back in the first half; Blair Alston got to an under-hit Graeme Shinnie back-pass before Lewis but could only toe-poke it past the post; and Graham Cummins volleyed over from about eight yards out.
For Aberdeen, there was only an Andrew Considine header in the opening period that should have been put away.
“I felt we played really well and had the better chances overall,” Wotherspoon pointed out.
“Blair Alston was unlucky after he read the pass-back, I hit the post, Graham Cummins had a chance.
“We had a few shots, while they didn’t have many clear-cut other than the Andrew Considine header.
“We could have nicked all three, but we’re happy with a point at Pittodrie.”
It was another successful trip on the road for the Perth men, who are becoming proficient in taking points off the Premiership big boys on their own turf.
“The manager pointed out in the dressing room that we have taken three points from three of the top teams away from home,” Wotherspoon said.
“It shows we are progressing and we just need to tidy up at home.
“We have shown we can mix it with the likes of Aberdeen, but our main aim is top six and if we can go above that, it’s a bonus.”
Saints won their last home game against Inverness Caley Thistle but before that there had been more disappointments than days to enjoy at McDiarmid Park this season.
Motherwell at home on Saturday is the next chance to show that they have sorted things out in front of their own fans.
“We can’t put our finger on why it happens at McDiarmid,” Wotherspoon said.
“We are conceding soft goals at home that we don’t away from home.
“We seem to be good shape-wise away from home, yet we don’t change things for going away.
“We do what we do the rest of the time.
“Our home form has been the greatest, but if we can tidy that up and put some results together, we can continue on our run.”
After a week of headlines about the new Hearts manager, and a week before that of Robbie Neilson’s departure from Tynecastle to England dominating the Scottish football news agenda, Wotherspoon is bemused that Tommy Wright continues to go under the radar.
He said: “It is a surprise given what the manager has done with the club.
“He has been so successful over the years that I’m surprised he’s not been in the mix for any of these jobs.
“Look at the facts and statistics which show how great he has been at the club, but he’ll be focused on us just now and the main aim of top six.”
For his part, Wright was a satisfied man with what he saw from his team against an Aberdeen side that had thrashed Kilmarnock a few days before.
He said: “I thought over the piece we probably could have edged it, but we’re happy with the point.
“We’re slightly disappointed it wasn’t all three because even in the first half we had the better chances, and in the second half we had the better chances.
“David’s free-kick was unfortunate not to go in but at least we didn’t concede a late goal, because it was reminiscent of the League Cup game.
“It was a really good performance both individually and collectively. Tactically we were spot-on, and Aberdeen had to change their shape.
“It was another good away performance. We’ve been to Ibrox now and probably should have won, been to Hearts and should have won, and been up here and should have won.”
Derek McInnes said: “I think St Johnstone had a good game plan and they carried a threat on the counter attack.
“We had to try and overcome that, but even with the changes we made at half-time I don’t think we got into the areas to score one goal, let alone the five we got the other night.
“You have to credit St Johnstone. They denied us space and worked hard to keep us away from goal. It’s not just about us – there’s an opponent there and I think St Johnstone played well today.”