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Celtic Preview

May 8, 2015 5:00 pm Author: Aberdeen FC

Derek McInnes spoke to the media at lunchtime on Friday. He started by giving his reaction to the news that was revealed last night at the AFC Player of the Year Dinner and on www.afc.co.uk, that captain Russell Anderson was retiring.

“Russell and I have been speaking over the course of the season. It is something I knew he was thinking about, stopping playing at the end of the season. It is a sad day when any player comes to that decision especially someone who is as highly regarded as Russell is at the club. 

“He has had to endure a lot of injuries throughout his career. He managed to avoid injuries last season and played a very important role for me and the team and he helped the team progress, none more so than when he lifted the League Cup. 

“It is unfortunate this season that he has not managed to get on the pitch as much as possible and I think that has had a major bearing on his decision. It has been hard for him looking on from the sidelines although he still has a major role within the team on a day to day basis. 

“He has been a fantastic captain for the club and a fantastic captain for me and he is a fantastic individual.

“I think it was important for his own sake and for all of us last season that he lifted that trophy. It is a day he can look back on with real pride. He played such a huge role in helping us achieve that. 

“He has played in some good Aberdeen teams, he has played in some not so good Aberdeen teams but throughout he is a player that has taken on the responsibility and that is why the fans hold him in such high regard, as do all his team mates. 

“I want my team on Sunday to go out and be as competitive as usual I want us to go out and show that we are a good team against good opposition. We are playing against a team who have deservedly won the title. They have been excellent this season, as have our players as well. 

“It is important for us to always go out and win the game regardless of what it entails.  It would be nice if the outcome was a strong performance and the right result because we will have a big turnout of supporters who will be wanting exactly the same as what I will be wanting. I believe we have sold close to 18,000 tickets so we will have a strong backing.”

REDTV | The manager's press conference in full | please click here
REDTV | Mark Reynolds media conference | please click here

We'll have live & biased commentary from Pittodrie from 2.20pm on Sunday with updates on Twitter (@aberdeenfc) and afc.co.uk. Highlights, reaction and more post match.

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Dons unlucky again

May 10, 2015 6:51 pm Author: Aberdeen FC

Aberdeen lost against Celtic this afternoon but the Dons again pushed them all the way and just had no luck in front of goal. Despite there being nothing to play for the game was still extremely competitive with a lot of strong tackles going in. Aberdeen had the better of the first half without creating any clear cut openings. Jack’s cut back almost found McGinn and Reynolds had a half chance. The Dons started the second strongly but were undone in the 49th minute, when after an Aberdeen corner, Celtic raced the length of the park and Brown put in Armstrong’s cross.
 
After that the home side really went for it. There were a lot of crosses put into the area but just like last week the ball would not fall kindly to a red jersey. The game opened up and Celtic had a number of chances on the break but Scott Brown produced some fine saves, including two excellent double stops.
 
Aberdeen kept working tirelessly and it looked like they would get some reward in the final minute when a Hayes cross was met by Shankland but his header went agonisingly wide. There were rightly five minutes of injury time played but the Dons could not force any more openings.

RedTV | the highlights show please click here
RedTV | the managers post match media conference click here
RedTV | Scott Brown interview please click here
RedTV | Barry Robson interview please click here

Match Report 

Derek McInnes made two changes this afternoon for the visit of Celtic. Into the side came Barry Robson and Kenny McLean with Pawlett and Flood dropping to the bench. Aberdeen lined up with Brown in goal, Logan at right back, Considine at left back, Reynolds and Taylor in central defence. Robson and Jack were in the centre of midfield with Hayes on the left and McGinn on the right. McLean also played in the centre of midfield, in an advanced role behind Rooney upfront.

The match kicked off in cold but dry conditions. The Dons last home defeat in the league was against Celtic way back in November – some 10 games ago. Although unlike that game there was nothing at stake today, there were some very strong challenges in the opening exchanges especially in the middle of the park. The midfield area was going to be crucial today.

In the second minute Robson got a shot on target but it was easily saved by Gordon.  On 4 minutes a great chance for the Dons. From a throw in McLean flicked it on and Jack was in acres of space. He decided to go to the by-line and try and cut the ball back to McGinn. The ball was just deflected away from Niall and actually hit off Considine and went behind.

Referee Thomson had his work cut out as there was a lot happening. Barry Robson was unhappy with a tackle from Commons off the ball. Despite the physical challenges that were going in the referee was trying to let the play go on. On 10 minutes some great play between Hayes, Jack and McLean and then Robson tried a shot from 25 yards out which only went inches past the post. It was a fantastic hit that Gordon would not have got to if the shot had stayed on target.

On 13 minutes some more terrific play by the Dons and Hayes chipped over a ball into the box. Celtic got very lucky as there were four or five red shirts in the area but the ball landed on the head of Darnell Fisher. After 15 minutes McGinn left Fisher for dead. His cut back found Robson, his shot was headed on by Considine and Reynolds got to the ball ahead of Gordon but he could not direct his shot towards the net. On 17 minutes referee Thomson decided to give Aberdeen a foul. Robson hit the free kick which beat the wall but his effort was too straight and Gordon was able to save after showing some good handling. On 19 minutes, Izaguirre was slightly fortunate not to get booked after going through the back of McLean with his head as both players went up for a ball in the air.

22 minutes gone and the first attack of note from Celtic. Commons put over a cross from the right but Taylor did well to cut it out and then Robson used all his experience to draw a foul from Player of the Year Johansen. Johansen then raised his hands to Reynolds but again Thomson was happy for play to continue. Johansen then took a swipe at Logan when the Aberdeen full-back tried to let the ball run out of play. Logan was then crunched by Armstrong but again the referee was happy to keep his cards in his pocket.

The first half hour was non-stop and entertaining.

After that the visitors came more in to it. On 33 minutes the ever dangerous Armstrong found Johansen on the edge of the box, but he dragged his shot wide of the near post. Then thirty seconds later the first corner went the way of the home side. McGinn’s ball in caught the wind and Taylor got underneath it and his header went harmlessly wide. 

After 37 minutes Izaguirre sent Johansen scurrying clear after Aberdeen had given away possession. The Norwegian attempted to lob Brown but the keeper tipped his effort wide for a corner. The shot may have been going wide but it was still a very good save.

On 38 minutes Armstrong's corner was headed down by Van Dijk but the ball was cleared. Griffiths then had a shot blocked by Considine. On 40 minutes the best chance of the half fell to Fisher. He headed onto Griffiths and then collected a return pass but the right back blasted over.

HT

The second half continued at the same pace as the first ended and Aberdeen started strongly. Hayes managed to get a shot on goal but did not catch the ball the way he wanted. Then on 49 minutes Celtic took the lead when Johansen got to the by-line and cut the ball back into the path of Scott Brown who was there to score. It was a very disappointing goal from the Dons point of view as they had a corner up the other end but allowed Celtic to hit them on the break. You have to give the Celtic skipper a lot of credit but it was a really poor goal to lose.  

Back came the Dons. On 52 minutes great wing play by McGinn, he linked with Hayes and ran in on goal but from a tight angle he smashed it over the bar. He had a sighting at goal and probably should have done better. Niall was certainly giving Fisher an uncomfortable afternoon. Shortly after that Fisher was replaced by Matthews. Aberdeen also made a change, Goodwillie came on for Rooney.

As Aberdeen pushed forward the game opened up and was now more end to end. It needed a great double save from Scott Brown to keep Aberdeen in it. He first saved a shot by Griffiths and then got up to block a Commons drive from the edge of the area.

After letting a lot go during the game referee Thomson decided to bring out his cards. Robson was booked for a block on Johansen – it was a correct booking. On 62 minutes Hayes also went into the book after a foul on Denayer. Jonny got the ball and was a bit unlucky. On 65 minutes, good play down the left again won Aberdeen a corner. The ball came over and fell to McGinn at the edge of the area but he blasted over. On 67’ Izaguirre failed to be booked for a cynical challenge on McLean. The lack of consistency from referee Thomson was upsetting the home support. 

From the free kick Aberdeen appealed for a penalty after Brown handled in the area, it would have been a soft one. Celtic raced to the other end and Logan had to make a good block to stop a powerful shot from Griffiths getting through.

On 69 minutes Pawlett came on for Robson. Barry had another very fine game today. On 71 minutes Considine was booked for foul on Johansen. The referee had allowed so much to go before, and then started booking players for nothing tackles.

On 72 minutes good play by McGinn and he put over an inviting ball but frustratingly there was no one there. Then a Hayes ball from the left was missed by Van Dijk but again there were no Aberdeen players there able to take advantage. On 77 minutes McGinn had another go but decided to shoot early and got this one all wrong. On 79 minutes a Taylor diagonal ball picked out McGinn and his cross almost found Goodwillie but Van Dijk intercepted. The resulting corner fell to the feet of Taylor but the Celtic defence blocked. On 82 minutes more good build up play but McLean fired over. Like last week plenty of good play from The Dons but the ball would just not fall kindly to a red jersey in the box.

With four minutes to go Shankland came on for Jack and within two minutes of coming on he had a great chance to score. Hayes delivered a great ball which Shankland was able to attack but his flying header just went inches past the post. What a chance for Lawrence.

The Aberdeen manager was getting very frustrated by the Celtic players who he felt were play acting. The referee agreed and gave five minutes of injury time. Unfortunately McLean pulled up with a hamstring injury so the Dons were pretty much down to ten men and they were not able to create any clear openings. Brown made a good save even though Griffiths looked offside and then made another brilliant double save in the final minute.
 

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