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Dundee Utd v Aberdeen Preview

August 1, 2015 5:38 am Author: Aberdeen FC

Ladbrokes Premiership | Dundee United v Aberdeen | Tannadice | KO 3.30PM

TV: The game is live on RedTV International
Ticket news: The Aberdeen allocation is SOLD OUT

Aberdeen start their SPFL Premiership campaign on Sunday against Dundee United. A trip to Tanandice is a tough challenge at the best of times, but having made the longest trip of any side in European competition ever a few days prior, it is going to be an even tougher challenge this weekend.

Manager Derek McInnes though is ready to face it head on. 

Last season the Dons opened up with a 3-0 defeat to United at Pittodrie before going to on to have their best campaign for decades. On the eve on the new season the Dons boss was asked in his pre match media conference about that fixture: 

“We have learned from what happened last season on the opening day but you cannot completely insure against it (happening again). You can only try and prepare the best way you can. Last year against Sociedad the players put so much into the game because there was a spell where we thought we might just be able to claim a victory and get through. The downside was that we did not have a lot left in the tank on the Sunday. I said after the game that United deserved to win that day and they had more energy than us. I have also said I possibly picked the wrong team. So we might make a few changes from the side that played in Kazakhstan. The Kairat tie does make things more difficult but we would rather be competing in Europe that not.

“I thought last season the supporters also were affected by the European campaign. In that United game it did not feel like the first game of the season. The atmosphere was quite flat. It is important we all meet the challenge on Sunday head on.

“It is important we all feel stimulated and excited about the first game. We will take a very good crowd down to Tannadice and they will expect us to win. We have to put that demand on ourselves.

“It is a tough start for us. It is always a very tough game against Dundee United. They always offer a difficult challenge. As well as beating us on the opening day of last season they also beat us in other games. They are a good side and we are going to have to bring a level of performance if we are going to win the game. United are a team we expect to be up alongside us in the League again.  

“For us every game is important regardless of who you are playing and with this being the first game of the season you want to get off to winning start. Every manager, player and supporter wants to see their team getting those first three points as soon as possible.    

“I feel going into the season we have strengthen our options. The players we have brought into the squad want to be playing each week. Danny Ward, Paul Quinn and Graeme Shinnie have not come here to be squad players. Ultimately I can only play eleven players each week but it was important to strengthen the ability within the group.

“I think it is important you try and strengthen your starting XI in certain positions every year. You maybe can’t always bring in players who are better than what you have already got but you can bring in players who offer you something different and that is what we have done.

“Coming back so early and having to play so many games in Europe to get to where we want to get to, the group stages, and we do want to get there, will put a strain on us because the squad is smaller but I feel the squad is better. I feel the squad last year was better than the squad the year before.

“The nucleus of the group of players we have are aged 21 to 25.  Despite being quite young they have all managed to get a lot of games under their belt. They are now at a good age to kick on and have a good career.  

“I believe Aberdeen can be competitive in all competitions. The cup competitions offer an opportunity for us to be successful as it does for a lot of teams. We also want to try and improve on our league form but we have to prove ourselves all over again. 

“We want to try and improve our points tally. If Celtic are to give any sides any encouragement they are going to have to win less points that they did last season. That is the reality. They are more than capable with the squad they have and with the resources they have of reaching that tally again. But if they don’t it is up to other clubs including ourselves to try and get closer to them. 

“When you lose games you are never as bad as people think, when you win games you are never as good as people sometimes make out. We are just trying to make steady progress and we continue to take one game at a time.”
 

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McLean nets late winner : Live

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McLean nets late winner

August 2, 2015 6:18 pm Author: Aberdeen FC

As expected, Derek McInnes made a number of changes from the side that played in the Europa League some five time zones away on Thursday. Willo Flood, who did not travel, recovered from injury and came back into the side and was made captain for the day while Smith, Rooney and McLean also all started. Aberdeen lined up in a 3-4-2-1 formation with Ward in goal and a back three of Taylor, Quinn and Considine. Flood and Shinnie were the sitting players with Hayes wide left and Logan on the right. McLean and Smith played in behind Rooney up front. 

The game kicked off in front of the usual tremendous atmosphere at Tannadice, and as ever in this fixture, there was the usual frantic start. In the first minute, a slip from Considine allowed Bilate to get in behind but Hayes did very well to use his pace and track back. Taylor was then forced to stab the ball behind for corner. Telfer’s in-swinger was met by Durnan, but his effort was well off target.

Aberdeen forced their first corner on five minutes. Flood took it and his deep ball looked promising but Luis Zwick made a confident catch. United then won a free-kick when Taylor was penalised, despite Bilate backing into the centre half. Happily, Charlie Telfer failed to lift the ball over the wall.   

On nine minutes, Cammy Smith forced the Dons’ second corner bur Shinnie’s ball in failed to clear the first defender. The defender got a second chance which he made a better job of and Zwick did well to take a low ball at the feet of Taylor. On 13 minutes, Durnan was lucky not to be penalised for taking down McLean after the midfielder had turned him. There was no real pattern to the play in the early stages as neither team were able to take control in the middle of the park.

On the quarter of an hour, there was some good play down the left from Hayes and McLean. Hayes put over a good driven ball which caused all sorts of problems as it bounced up and the young United keeper failed to deal with the situation as he was put under pressure by Smith. The ball came out to Shinnie who cracked a sweet first time shot with his left foot which went over the bar.

Two minutes later, back came United. Chris Erskine fired in a very powerful shot which Ward did well to palm down and Taylor reacted quickly to hook the ball to safety. Shortly after, a good move saw John Souttar move into the box. He tried to flick the ball on but his header went wide. On 20 minutes, there was great play out on the left by Spittal as he beat both Smith and Logan but his cross was headed behind by Quinn who was well positioned. Back came the Dons and Hayes won another corner with a driving run down the left. Flood again took it but his ball drifted harmlessly over.

On 24 minutes, after a good build up, a superb turn by Cammy Smith allowed him to run at the United defence who backed off. Cammy hit a shot with his left foot which the keeper only gathered at the second attempt.
On 28 minutes, after a slight lull in play – there were not many of them! – Shinnie released Hayes who put over another very good ball which Durnan did well to defend at the near post. United seemingly had no answer to the pace of Hayes. Aberdeen won a corner which was cleared, then another from which Flood found the head of Taylor. His knock down landed at the feet of Rooney and his shot was deflected and went over. It should have been another corner but referee Kevin Clancy gave a goal kick.

After 35 minutes came a half chance for Smith inside the area but he snatched at his shot. Next, McLean played in a ball which was just behind everyone in a white jersey. On 39 minutes, a yellow card, the first of the game, for Coll Donaldson. That led to a free-kick in a good area but once again, the delivery from the set piece was poor. United failed to clear their lines and Flood found Taylor with a cross but he could not get any power on his header.

Back came United. Spittal again had a chance on the left before the home side missed a golden opportunity to take the lead. Quinn, who hardly put a foot wrong the whole game, unluckily got the ball tangled up in his feet and the ball fell straight to Bilate on the penalty spot. The striker just had Ward to beat, but the keeper spread himself brilliantly to make a stunning save.

The Dons then finished the half with a good little spell of pressure. It culminated in Rooney creating room for a shot which was blocked and then McLean fired just over.

United made a change at the break when Bilate was replaced by Darko Bodul. United quickly forced a corner which they took short to the unmarked Dixon. His shot was bravely blocked by McLean and deflected up. Ward pushed it away and McLean completed the clearance. On 51 minutes, Smith tried an overhead kick that would have been one of the goals of the season if he had found the net but sadly, he did not! After a very open first half, the match had become more cagey as both team knew the first goal was going to be all important.

On 58 minutes, after really patient play by the Dons, Hayes’ ball in found Smith in the box but he could not take the ball on the run. Seconds later, Hayes found himself in behind the United defence. He drove towards the goal but instead of playing it across the face, he elected to shoot and got it all wrong. Then Logan, on the other side, got in behind the full-back but referee Clancy frustratingly brought the play back for a free kick to the Dons instead of playing advantage.

Both teams made a change with an hour gone when Cammy Smith was replaced by Niall McGinn and Telfer was replaced by Simon Murray. Moments after that, Hayes had a shot blocked and then a Spittal free kick was headed on by Bodul and Ward was forced to get down low to the left and make another good save.
With Niall McGinn now on the field the Dons were looking far more dangerous from set pieces but still they could not get the break of the ball from a corner. Halfway through the second half, Hayes was replaced by Goodwillie.

The game became very stretched, which probably suited United more than the Dons. The home side looked dangerous again and Donaldson missed a decent chance when he headed over from a free-kick.
With 15 minutes to go, Aberdeen missed a golden opportunity. The United keeper failed to deal with a high ball which then fell to Considine who was lurking at the back of the area. The defender tried to side foot home but United managed to find a block on the line. Minutes later Andy was replaced by captain Ryan Jack as Aberdeen changed to more of a 4-4-2 formation.

It was a masterstroke from McInnes as the Dons regained control of the game and, on 82 minutes, they took the lead. Goodwillie played a ball over from the left which McLean flicked goalwards and his looping header landed in the back of the net. Poor Zwick, who had been injured minutes earlier, had absolutely no chance.
With the goal, the Aberdeen players got a second wind and they worked tirelessly to hold onto possession.

They saw out the game brilliantly, with Willo Flood superb, and took the three points back up the road.   
 

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