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Betfred Cup Quarter Final | Derek McInnes

September 20, 2016 5:20 pm Author: Aberdeen FC

“The cups give us a great opportunity to try and bring some silverware. You always expect a tough match when it gets to the last eight. We are pleased to be at home but we know our opponent well and it will be a tough match. I watched them again on Saturday and they are a very good team with some very good players and a good management team. They are a tough team to get on top of but we think the tie is there for us to win if we can play as well as we can.

“Hopefully we get back into our cars on Thursday night and we are in the semi-final of a cup. It’s a big match for both teams.

“We have only had one defeat domestically and that was at Celtic Park but with the standards that we have set over the past few years we have been a bit frustrated with the draws that ideally we would have turned into wins.

“We found that killer instinct that we have been searching for on Sunday and the performance was strong. To go there as the away team and dominate proceedings for long spells pleases me, to get three goals pleases me as well. It was a result we thoroughly deserved but Thursday is a different challenge altogether.

“We like playing at home and we look forward to it. It’s important that whoever turns up gets behind us. We all recognise and respect our opponent so we are not going to get it all our own way. Hopefully by working together, support and players, we can get the result that we all want and get one step closer to a Hampden cup final. That’s the big picture for all of us, we are all aware that at Aberdeen we want to be appearing regularly in cup finals and to do that you have to beat good teams and St Johnstone are a top side.

“People keep saying to me how they fly under the radar but I actually don’t, I think they do get a lot of credit and rightly so. They more than punch their weight, they have a lot of good players with good experience and they are a very good side. We are full of respect for them and we know that we have a job on our hands but the semi-final is what we want and we are good enough to get there.

“We have got to a few semi-finals since we got here and won a cup but last year was disappointing. Losing away at Hearts and Hibs in isolation aren’t the most embarrassing results but when you don’t get at least one cup run in your season it can have a negative impact. We are like a lot of teams who can picture ourselves in a cup final. Everybody in the hat will feel that they can get there now.

“As strong as our league campaigns have been the past few years the cups can sometimes be the difference in perception between having a good season and not.

“We have shown over the past few seasons that we can go on unbeaten runs and winning runs. On Thursday though you are either in the cup or out so we don’t want to be unfortunate or play poorly. We want to bring as strong a performance as we can and make the game go our way.

“St Johnstone cause problems for every team. They are a more than capable side you can see that from their league positions and the fact that they have been in European competitions regularly. They missed out last year but they still had a strong campaign.

“It’s a quarter final and we are at home and we are really looking forward to it. It deserves our full attention and that is all we are thinking about.

“We are only five games into the season, we won our cup game away from home and we did OK in the European games. There is one result which we were disappointed with which was the home game against Inverness, we would have liked to have won it. Winning is so important for us here, draws feel like a defeat but there is nothing wrong with that.

“Joe (Lewis) has done well. He has not had a lot do, I need to say that but he has brought assurance and calmness and he is unfussy which I like. He has done well and we are very fortunate to have two strong goalkeepers at the club. Neil (Alexander) trains at a good standard and Joe will be well aware that he has do well to stay in the team. The only one out is Ryan Jack and some of the boys will play in tonight’s development game. It should be after the international break in October when we get Ryan back.”

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Dons strike late to reach semi’s : Live

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Dons strike late to reach semi’s

September 23, 2016 12:04 am Author: Aberdeen FC

Derek McInnes was forced into making a change to his side just minutes before kick off, having to replace Jonny Hayes, who had pulled up in the warm-up, with Niall McGinn. There were two other changes to the side with Jayden Stockley and Wes Burns starting the game after making an impact last Sunday's win against Dundee.

The Dons looked sharp in the first five minutes with young James Maddison pulling the strings in the midfield. He played a nice ball forward to Shinnie who sprayed it wide for Stockley. The big striker crossed low for McGinn whose shot took a deflection out for a corner. The set piece produced no real chance with Ash Taylor too far from goal to cause trouble with his header.

St Johnstone got themselves close to opening the scoring when David Wotherspoon caught Ash Taylor, although most inside Pittodrie felt he was offside. His cross was fizzed across goal, but with no takers it ran out for a throw in. Joe Gormley was not far away.

The visitors continued to cause problems with Steven McLean trying a hopeful lob from outside the penalty area but it was just over Joe Lewis's crossbar. It was proving to be quite an even contest and even at this stage it looked like the first goal was going to be crucial.

A quick spell of action saw chances for both teams. Aberdeen danced around the outside of the box, the ball eventually fell to Kenny McLean who drove in a low shot which appeared to have beaten Zander Clark but Steven Anderson made a very good block. The Saints not for the first time broke up the park and managed to unlock the Dons defence through the middle and Graeme Shinnie was forced to take a last ditch booking for the team to prevent a goal scoring opportunity.

With half time approaching James Maddison launched a Dons counter attack. He played the ball forward for McGinn to chase. Niall's tremendous pace was enough to help him get the ball into the box for Wes Burns, sadly Wes couldn't get his body into the right position and his volley went wide.

The last kick of the ball came from a free kick hit by Maddison, unfortunately it thundered off the wall from 30 yards out. Craig Thomson blew time on a very even half of football. Aberdeen had plenty of the ball but St Johnstone worked very hard to close them down and there was very little space to work in.

HT Aberdeen 0 – 0 St Johnstone

St Johnstone made a change early on the second half, taking Joe Gormley off and replacing him with Michael Coulson.

The Dons lined up a free kick on the edge of the box on the 51 minute mark. Maddison floated a tempting ball into the box and it was Andy Considine whose glancing header was wide of the goal.

Going forward, it was a familiar showing to what the first half had produced for the Dons. Plenty of neat build up play but lacking a killer pass. St Johnstone were quick to close down spaces which slowed down play.

There were also a lot of free kicks which further broke the play up.

The best chance of the game came just before an hour of play. A corner kick found Kenny McLean in space from six yards out. His run into the six-yard box had gone untracked. Unfortunately it was a fraction too close to Kenny who put the ball over the bar with a first time volley. Kenny looked gutted that he hadn't made more of the chance.

The red army had their hearts in their mouths when St Johnstone had the ball in the net after a nice break up the pitch. Fortunately for the Dons, Wootherspoon timed his run a fraction early and was caught offside. A huge let off…

Derek McInnes made a double substitution 72 minutes in, as Burns and Stockley came off for Peter Pawlett and Adam Rooney. Could they be the key to unlocking the visitors' defence?

As we moved into the last 15 minutes of the match the Dons were throwing everything at St Johnstone but still couldn't find an opening. Another Maddison free kick into the box went unfinished. It was beginning to look like extra time.

There was late drama at the other end of the pitch with five minutes to play. After the Dons had given away a cheap free-kick David Wotherspoon struck a free kick from 30 yards out which glided over the wall and was goal bound. Had it not been for a wonderful save from Joe Lewis it would have been a disastrous end for the Dons. Joe managed to tip the ball onto the post and Ash Taylor was thankfully there to clear the danger.

Sometimes in football you need to ride your luck, and bide your time.

Aberdeen just seconds before the board was due to go up for stoppage time, Graeme Shinnie made a run down the left and chipped the ball in with his weaker right foot and, as he so often does, Adam Rooney headed home with his back to goal. We had to wait 90 minutes for the Pittodrie roar, but it worth the wait. The stadium erupted. It was the best cross of the game and Rooney did what he does so well by finding the net.

Derek McInnes was taking no chances as the Dons now had the lead. The manager called time on James Maddison's evening. The 19-year-old walked off to a hero's ovation having put in such a huge amount of work in the midfield. On came the reliable figure of Mark Reynolds.

Aberdeen did really well to run down the clock with three minutes of stoppage time without any alarm.
Niall McGinn even had a great chance to really finish off the visitors when Peter Pawlett broke up the pitch and the Dons had a three on tow situation but Niall went for goal and Clark saved. It did not matter as the final whistle sounded seconds later.

Aberdeen showed real grit and determination to set themselves up for a semi-final against Moron in October.

FT Aberdeen 1-0 St Johnstone
 

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