Aberdeen interim boss Neil Warnock admits he cannot be confident his side will avoid being drawn into a cinch Premiership relegation battle if they continue to concede “stupid” goals.

Warnock is still without a win in five league matches in charge – with Aberdeen winless in nine in total – and the Dons fell behind to a first-half Nicky Clark penalty after Richard Jensen’s handball.

Benjamin Kimpioka added a second late in the game and the Dons fans turned on their side and the clubs’ board.

Warnock confessed he understands their anger, saying: “You can understand that. They see the goals we’re conceding. We’ve had some good opportunities tonight, couldn’t score and we lose sloppy goals.

“It’s disheartening. The lads have to stop feeling sorry for themselves and we’ve got to get on with it. I’ve never experienced anything like it.

“Looking at the goals we’re conceding, do you see us winning another game? I can’t remember having a team concede goals like we are.

“You can’t legislate for the goals we’re conceding. We have quality but we still concede stupid goals.

“When you look at those goals, I don’t think anybody could be confident [of escaping a relegation battle]. It needs some experience here to look at what we’ve got and find a way to get something out of the games we have coming up”.

Saints boss Craig Levein hailed the character his side showed in bouncing back from a poor performance at St Mirren at the weekend, to add to Aberdeen’s misery.

He said: “On Saturday we didn’t turn up ready to fight which gave the opposition the advantage.

“The big question today was whether we could go out and deliver what we didn’t last week and I’m so proud of the performance today. We stood up to be counted in every single area of the pitch. It was a real team performance and a real fillip for us.

“We recognised that at Aberdeen the expectations are high and if the players and team don’t achieve what the supporters are looking for it can be quite tough.

“I’m only focusing on Saturday now and we’ll need to bring that type of performance. If we do, we’ll have a chance of taking something from the game”.

Aberdeen remain at risk of being drawn into a cinch Premiership relegation battle after the toothless Dons sank to defeat against St Johnstone.

Nicky Clark’s penalty late in the first half opened the scoring and Benjamin Kimpioka netted a second 13 minutes from time.

The win moves Craig Levein’s Saints level on points with the Dons as the two sides seemingly head on opposite trajectories.

Both sides rang the changes after weekend defeats, Aberdeen showing four changes after their 2-0 defeat to Kilmarnock, while Levein brought in five fresh players after defeat to St Mirren.

Neither side fashioned a clear view on goal in the opening period before a Matt Smith cross after 17 minutes found the experienced Clark, who tried to chest the ball home from close range, Kelle Roos saving comfortably.

Aberdeen were finding it hard to provide any service for lone striker Bojan Miovski and their best opportunities in the first half came from midfielders, Jamie McGrath forcing a fingertip save from Dimitar Mitov from a 25-yard free-kick, while Graeme Shinnie saw a shot from distance blocked by Liam Gordon.

The visitors were also shot-shy but they took the lead two minutes from the interval when Clark found the bottom left corner from the penalty spot after Richard Jensen’s handball.

The home side finally worked an opening for Miovski immediately afterwards but his subtle flick was easy for Mitov to hold.

A change of system at the interval saw Aberdeen become a more regular threat and Leighton Clarkson really should have levelled when he ran onto Roos’ long clearance but shot straight at Mitov.

Jonny Hayes flashed an effort wide and Clarkson hit over as the Dons searched for a leveller but the biggest threat to Levein’s side would be their own goalkeeper.

Mitov dropped a Connor Barron corner he looked to have full control of and his defenders scrambled to partially clear the ball before Miovski’s eventual shot was deflected over.

Two minutes later there was another scramble in front of goal, Mitov this time doing well to hold Stefan Gartenmann’s powerful header.

While Aberdeen may have had the volume of chances, the visitors looked sharp on the break with Kimpioka having the run of Gartenmann in particular and that would lead to the second goal.

Diallang Jaiyesimi’s ball over the top gave the striker something to chase and he drew Roos off his line before clipping home an angled shot to double his side’s lead.

Aberdeen huffed and puffed but as shouts of “sack the board” echoed round a rapidly emptying Pittodrie, Mitov in truth was rarely troubled.

St Johnstone have signed Kerr Smith on loan and striker Benjamin Kimpioka on a permanent deal, subject to international clearance.

Aston Villa announced 19-year-old Scottish central defender Kerr has signed a new contract before making the loan switch back north for the remainder of the season.

Saints also confirmed 23-year-old Swedish forward Kimpioka, who previously had a spell at Sunderland, has joined on an 18-month contract from AIK.

Smith will join up with Craig Levein’s squad immediately, although St Johnstone’s cinch Premiership game against Dundee at Dens Park has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

He began his senior career with Dundee United and made 12 first-team appearances, making his debut at Ibrox at the age of 16, before signing for Villa in January 2022.

Left-back Luke Robinson has been recalled by Wigan midway through his season-long loan, while Dara Costelloe was recalled from his loan spell by Burnley and has since joined Dundee.

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