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St Johnstone Preview | The Manager

April 27, 2017 5:44 pm Author: Aberdeen FC

Derek McInnes

“We got the job done last week and now we go straight back onto league business and an important game here at Pittodrie on Saturday.

“Once the split is made there are a lot of important games at both ends of the table, for us we are up against the best teams in the country. With that in mind, and when play teams who have plenty to play for, we have work to do to get all three points.

“That is exactly what we are going to try and do on Saturday.

“We are up against a team we know an awful lot about. We know how tough an opponent they can be.

“For us we know that claiming second spot is in our hands.

“We can win a couple of games and secure that.

“First things first, there are five very tough games remaining and as I say we are playing against the best teams in the country so you would expect it to be tougher than most weeks.

“St Johnstone have always been a tough opponent. St Johnstone have got their own aspirations, they want to get into that European spot and knowing them as we do, they will be doing all they can to make sure that is a reality for them.

“So we will have our work cut but we are at home and we confident going into the game. Our motivation is high to get all three points. A win on Saturday is another step towards where we want to finish.

“It is important when the cup final comes around that we have an edge to our play and we are in a good place. So I do think having the focus of these last five games against good opponents is good preparation for that. But I am not going into this game thinking about the cup final. I am going into this game thinking about trying to overcome a tough St Johnstone side to help us get all three points. We have spoken often enough about our objectives for the season and how the season ends is how your season is defined. We want to well in the league and hopefully our league form will help us in the cup final.

“I think the players enjoyed the pitch down in Perth last time we met. It was in very good condition and we started off like a train. We were really bright with our work. We deservedly got a couple of goals ahead. We did not start the second half quite as well and they got a soft penalty and got themselves back in it. Whilst you are the away team and you are up against a team like St Johnstone, you have to fight and scrap to get over the line. We managed to do that.

“No two games are the same. What we do get when we play each other is a healthy respect between each other and both teams expect a tough afternoon. We feel we have to play well to win the game and hopefully we can do exactly that.

“Team news, Niall is absolutely fine. Graeme Shinnie trained today so we hope he is ok. So again, we are unscathed from the weekend.”
 

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Dons lose after controversial call

April 29, 2017 8:33 pm Author: Aberdeen FC

The manager made one change to the side that won at Hampden, Niall McGinn came back into an attacking starting XI and Mark Reynolds dropped to the bench. Aberdeen started with a back three of Logan, Taylor and Considine with McGinn and Hayes operated as wing backs.

The match kicked off in dry and but cold conditions and there was quite a stiff breeze.

A loose past in the second minute by Ash Taylor left some space for the dangerous Swanson to run into. The Dons defence actually did quite well to keep their shape and regroup and Considine turned a dangerous cross behind for the first corner of the afternoon.

St Johnstone started the game quite brightly but it was Dons who almost took the lead on seven minutes. Graeme Shinnie’s 20-yard effort was mistimed and instead of hitting the target, fell into the path of Adam Rooney who cleverly diverted the ball towards goal. In the end Alan Mannus did well as it looked like Rooney had
squeezed the ball in at the corner.

Referee Alan Muir then became the centre of attention as he handed out yellow cards to Logan and Hayes and then had to intervene after a clash between Chris Millar and Aberdeen midfielder Ryan Christie. The Dons player was pushed into the opposition dugout.

Millar avoided punishment again minutes later for a body check on Jonny Hayes, much to the annoyance of the home fans, but the Saints man was forced out through injury after just 35 minutes.

After that the game became quite scrappy as both teams struggled to get any flow into their play. The Dons were struggling to get their usual crisp one touch passing going.

After 23 minutes Hayes did well down the left to beat Foster but his cross was cut out at the near post by the impressive Shaughnessy. Then two minutes later Christie did well in the area to cushion a header down in the six-yard box but no one in a red jersey re-acted quick enough.

In truth neither keeper was unduly tested in a first half of few chances but just before the interval the first piece of real quality led to the first real chance for the hosts. Jonny Hayes on the left put over a superb early cross which found the run of Kenny McLean but he headed the ball wide from close range. It looked a bad miss but to be fair to Kenny he was running at full pelt and could not direct his diving header. He might have been better staying on his feet as he probably had more space and time than he first realised.

HT Aberdeen 0 St Johnstone 0

Aberdeen started the second half strongly and within minutes McLean was presented with another great chance. A free kick was played deep into the area and won by Logan at the back post. He passed the ball back to McLean but his shot was just too high.

On 52 minutes Ryan Jack broke forward and played the ball wide to Rooney. The striker put over a dangerous cross which Steven Anderson just managed to turn past his own post. It was very nearly an own goal. Mannus was then quickly across his goal to deny Ryan Christie after McLean’s corner and, when the ball eventually fell to Ash Taylor, his wild shot was way off target.

McLean then fired over from distance, while at the other end Saints captain Steven Anderson headed just wide from Craig’s pin point free-kick and Swanson fizzed a long-range effort wide.

On the hour mark one of the very few good moves all afternoon by Aberdeen saw the two Ryan’s combine. Christie played the ball into the path of his skipper but his effort went over the bar. Another decent opening.

On 65 minutes the manager made a double substitution with Stockley and Pawlett replacing Rooney and Christie.

The game then became even more scrappy and a goalless draw looked on the cards. The conditions were not ideal as the wind was playing havoc with a lot of the longer passes.

Then out of nothing a moment of real controversy.

With 10 minutes to go Joe Lewis parried a Swanson shot at his near post and Ryan Jack took a touch before the Dons goalkeeper gathered the ball. Although Jack appeared to be pushed in the back, forcing the ball to go in the direction of his keeper, referee Alan Muir, who had made a number of questionable decisions, ruled it was a back pass. It proved to be a huge decision as from the resulting indirect free-kick, Liam Craig squared it to Swanson who hammered the ball home from a tight angle, the ball going in at the far post. It was a good hit from Swanson but the defensive wall on the line should have done better.

And as Aberdeen went chasing the game worse was to follow three minutes later. Swanson then turned provider, playing in substitute Craig Thomson to lash a shot across the exposed Lewis into the net. It was a fine finish from the youngster.

After that St Johnstone comfortably held on against an Aberdeen side who never at any stage got going this afternoon.

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