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St Johnstone Preview | with Derek McInnes

April 13, 2017 6:24 pm Author: Aberdeen FC

Derek McInnes

“The post-split fixtures are what we expected really give or take a few different KO times. We expected two at home and three away games, so no real surprises. We are just looking forward to getting the games played.

“I have said all along there is still work for us to do.

“There is nothing wrong with having that focus. In previous seasons, we have cemented second spot fairly early on and the season has just played out because we have not had a Scottish Cup final to look forward to. We are hopefully with the focus that we have got, to get that second spot and to get to a cup final, that will help us this season.

“We are playing against the better teams in the league, the teams who have earned the right to get there. We have a couple of games against St Johnstone, Hearts, Celtic, Rangers and Partick Thistle and a semi-final against Hibs so there is plenty to be getting on with. There has been a lot to have been pleased about up until now but it is how you finish a season is how your season is defined. We have put ourselves in a position to go and finish off our good work.

“My focus is on St Johnstone on Saturday. It is not on any of the other post-split fixtures.

“It was a defeat and defeats have been to the minimum this season especially at home. The manner in which we lost the second goal was what I am disappointed with as we still had plenty of time to get back into the game. I thought we could have played better in the first half but still thought we were the better team. I thought we were by far the better team in the second half but ultimately, we have lost the game and there is nothing we can do about that. We just have to worry about what we can affect and that is the next game.

“It was three points and an opportunity lost but there are three more points available on Saturday.

“We have been on a brilliant run. We had four or five minutes of madness at the weekend really where we have undone ourselves I feel. I thought the first goal was bad enough and preventable as well as the second goal. But over the past three months the form has been so good so we are concentrating on that form and individual performances rather than concentrating on what happened during that five-minute spell on Sunday. We recognise there is work to be done all the way to the end of the season and we want to go and show that over the next few weeks.

“St Johnstone, you normally associate them with having a very strong home record. This season it has not been quite that but they have been very strong on the road. We have had three very tough games against them already this season. We won a cup game here when there was nothing in the game and we have drawn a couple of games against them. Whilst we remain undefeated against them the games have been very close and we expect the same on Saturday.

“St Johnstone have their own objectives for the remainder of the season. They normally finish seasons strongly. They have got focus. So we expect a tough game.

“We have a healthy respect for them. Their strength is in their squad and their team. They have continuity and they have got good attitude and organisation. But they also have good players.

“They have got that experience there, a lot of know-how. We have to try and overcome that. Looking forward to the game nonetheless.

“We have to try and do our best to get on top of them if we want to get a positive result.

“Team news, Mark Reynolds trained this week and Mark comes into the squad which we are delighted with. He has worked really hard with the physio’s. Everyone else is ok.

“Since the winter break the players have shown a great level of consistency and we have put ourselves into position. Now it gets to the stage of the season where we want to go and try and get all the rewards for the full season.

“Going into Saturday’s game, with the point of view of the league there is a need to win the three points but it is also important to go into the semi-final on the back of winning the game.”

 

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Dons secure European football with win : Live

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Dons secure European football with win

April 15, 2017 9:51 pm Author: Aberdeen FC

IMAGE GALLERY | Stephen Dobson | please click here

Derek McInnes was forced to make one change to the side with Niall McGinn missing out because of a groin strain. He was replaced by Ryan Christie. Ryan started on the right side whilst Kenny McLean played in a deeper role with Shinnie starting in behind Rooney.

The game kicked off on a good looking pitch but there was a stiff breeze to contend with.

In the second minute Jonny Hayes sprayed a perfect cross field pass to pick out Shay Logan. The right back was in space and put over a decent cross which held up in the wind and had to be headed behind for a corner. The set piece was well defended at the far post where the Dons had loaded up their taller players. A minute later more space for Logan, this time about 30 yards out in a central position. He drove forward and pulled a shot wide of the target.  

Aberdeen were enjoying plenty of possession in the early stages and had found their passing range.
In the eight minute a nice move down the left saw McLean feed Hayes, who had started the move with a neat turn. Jonny put over a perfect cross for Shinnie but his effort went over the bar. It looked a great chance but the offside flag had gone up anyway so it would not have counted.

A few minutes later Aberdeen dispossessed the home side in their own half. Christie and Shinnie probably should have done better to work an opening but a couple of passes went astray. On 12 minutes St Johnstone with their first attack found Liam Craig inside the area. The midfielder has been in fine goalscoring form. His shot from a narrow angle was easily covered by Lewis.

In the 16th minute Hayes put over another superb cross which just went over the head of Rooney and Brian Easton inside his six yard box did extremely well to get the ball over the bar to safety.

Christie then won a second corner moments later, from which Taylor’s header looped up into the arms of Mannus.
Then in the 19th minute Aberdeen took the lead after brilliant play by Ryan Christie. The on loan player who was starting his third game today, did well on the half way line to keep the ball in play and find Rooney. Adam then drove forward and played it wide to Ryan who had made up a lot of ground to get in support. His first touch was really positive and clever, it took him away from two Saints defenders. Inside the area he had options but fired a left footed shot past Mannus, the keeper got a touch but could not keep it out. A piece of real quality from Ryan.  
Liam Craig was booked for a lunge on Hayes before Blair Alston had a half chance at the back post, he was in space but thankfully could not control the cross. Then a slip at the back by Joe Shaughnessy allowed Rooney to have a run at goal. Joe did well though to get back and did enough to put Adam off. Just before the half hour mark again the Dons managed to free Hayes down the left. His cross came back to Christie and his first-time effort went harmlessly wide.

The visitors were in complete control at this stage.

And they got a deserved second on 33 minutes. Once again Hayes put over a magnificent cross from the left and Tom Scobbie, standing about five yards out, could only turn the ball into his own net after failing to control the cross. Hayes’ cross was spot on all afternoon.

In the 35th minute Steven MacLean was lucky not to get booked as his frustrations boiled over before an Easton cross was very well dealt with by O’Connor.

After 36 minutes the home side made a tactical change, Blair Alston was replaced by Danny Swanson. It proved to be a turn point in the proceedings. On 37 minutes a rare poor pass by Kenny McLean allowed Swanson to get a clear run at goal but O’Connor and then McLean himself did well to retrieve the situation. Three minutes later St Johnstone won their first corner which Aberdeen struggled to clear. The ball fell to Paul Paton on the edge of the area and his thunderous drive looked goal bound but thankfully Taylor bravely got in the way of the shot. Tommy Wright’s side enjoyed a good spell at the end of the half, a reminder this game was not over.

Half time St Johnstone 0 Aberdeen 2

Liam Craig had an early chance at the start of the second half but thankfully his right footed shot was straight at Lewis. More sloppy play allowed a couple of crosses to come in from the right and when O’Connor was adjudged to have fouled MacLean inside the area suddenly out of nothing St Johnstone had a penalty. Danny Swanson took it and although Lewis guessed right the Saints sub found the bottom corner.

On 51 minutes Taylor at the back post did well to head clear a deep cross. Aberdeen then had to defend a couple of corners before they broke at pace, they had numbers in the area and they had a promising situation but Shinnie’s ball in was just over hit. A Hayes cross then bounced about inside the area but Christie nor Rooney could take advantage. That passage of play summed up the Dons in the second half, they did not look as convincing in the opposition penalty box as they had done in the first.

The game was now to end to end and becoming a real scrap. The impressive Swanson missed a great chance on 56 minutes when he was clean through. He actually had more time than he thought and there was no need to shoot as early as he did.

Lewis was booked for time wasting on 58 minutes whilst O’Connor was off getting treatment. On the hour mark Christie put over a dangerous cross whilst Shinnie had a shot charged down. Hayes from distance fired a shot just wide.

You could see more goals in this game at both ends at it was very open.

On 64 minutes Liam Craig was replaced by Murray Davidson. As the tackles started to fly in Wotherspoon was booked for a foul on Logan. On 72 minutes Michael Coulson was replaced by Craig Thomson. Five minutes later, after little action of note, Ryan Christie was replaced by Peter Pawlett.

It would be another nervous last ten minutes. We have had more than a few of these this season. Once again this afternoon Ash Taylor was outstanding at the back and especially in the later stages.

On 83 minutes Shinnie had two shooting chances inside the area, one on his left and the other with his right but Shaughnessy made a couple of good blocks. A minute later MacLean was booked for a lunge at Kenny McLean. Kenny was everywhere on the pitch trying to close down blue shirts.

The Dons struggled to keep hold of possession. It was not pretty viewing.

In the 90th minute Stockley came on for Hayes.

Late on every foul seemed to go the way of the home side which allowed them to put long balls into the area but with Taylor, O’Connor and Considine dealing with the aerial threat, Aberdeen were able to see out the four minutes of added time and claim a very important win
 

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