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Aberdeen v St Johnstone | preview

December 9, 2016 3:53 pm Author: Aberdeen FC

“It was the response we were looking for but I am not surprised.

“We spoke about showing that enthusiasm after the disappointment and I thought the players were terrific the other night. There were some very good individual performances and a strong team performance. The only blip was not getting the cleansheet. But that would be nit-picking when you looking at how our attacking play was. I thought we looked capable of scoring even more on the night. It was good for us and it was good for the supporters to see us scoring so many goals and to see that attacking threat and to see us getting three points to get us up and running again.

“As I say it was not a surprise. I have the privilege of working with the players ever day. The disappointment that everyone felt was the same for the players. It was good for them to get a bit of reward for their work.
“We went with a really positive team to try and get us back to winning ways and it paid dividends. It took us 15 to 20 minutes to get going but once we got going we played some good stuff.

“Every game is a different challenge though.  We will pick a team to play St Johnstone.

“We now have six games in the space of about 20 odd days. It would be unrealistic to think the same team will be going out there game after game. It is important we get people ready to play their part. The players have to be ready to stake a claim.

“The contribution from the players who came in on Tuesday was great. Peter is an example of that. He has been showing a real high level in training again and sometimes you can’t ignore that as a manager. It looks like he has that bit between his teeth again. His performance mirrored how he has been training. It was good for him to get the goal because when you play in that position who have got to be contributing. He more that played his part. I was delighted for him.  

“St Johnstone have a lot of experience and a lot of knowhow as a team. They have players who can punish you if you are not right. It is important that we start the game properly and don’t give them too much encouragement. We expect a tough game. I say that every time we play them. I think there is a health respect between both clubs. The work that Tommy and his players put in season after season has to be admired. Tommy is a manager who does good work every season.

“St Johnstone have been scoring goals this season, especially recently. They had been conceding a few goals but looked more like themselves when they played Inverness last time out. We are very mindful of what they can do.

“It is a game where we are going to have to play well to get the win.

“There was a lot I liked about the game the other night but on Saturday we have a different opponent. We will pick the team that we feel will get the job done. And it is getting that balance right when you play better teams, getting the balance right between attacking and defending.

“The two results this season highlight the fine margins between both teams. I have no doubt it will be a tight game.

“December has always been a good month. December does challenge your focus and does challenge your squad. It is something we have been really pleased with over the last few years. We have always felt that when the games come thick and fast, we have managed to deal with that situation well. Obviously, you need players to be fit to help you and we have that at the minute. There are no injuries going into this game and hopefully that will continue.

“December will shape the second part of the season. We want to come back in January sitting where we want to in the league and with a lot to look forward to.”
 

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Saints stalemate at Pittodrie

December 10, 2016 8:19 pm Author: Aberdeen FC

Derek McInnes was forced to drop Shay Logan to the bench ahead of kick off with the defender suffering from a slight knock. Fortunately it wasn't too serious and meant Shay could still make the squad. Ryan Jack returned to the starting line-up and Peter Pawlett deservedly kept his place in the team following an impressive display against Kilmarnock on Tuesday night.

The Dons last met St Johnstone in the league on the first day of the season and battled their way to a 0-0 draw. The sides also met in the Quarter Finals of the League Cup and that was as equally a close game until Adam Rooney’s last minute winner. So there was not much expected to be between the sides this afternoon.

The first chance of the game was a Jonny Hayes free kick that James Maddison laid off. Hayes' shot hit the wall failing to trouble Zander Clark in the Saints goal. The Dons failed to do enough to trouble Clark all afternoon as they struggled to break down a very well organised defence.

It was an even encounter for the first 15 minutes of the match, but St Johnstone almost took the lead when Murray Davidson missed from 10 yards. He was on his way to ground when MacLean crossed the ball so couldn't quite get his footing right to knock it past Lewis.

Minutes later The Dons came even closer when a brilliant Maddison corner went straight to Andrew Considine, his late run had last his marker, but he headed over the bar. It was to be the Dons best chance.

Shortly after that some lovely one touch football was played in the middle of the park with Pawlett, McLean and Maddison pulling the strings. It opened up a chance for Pawlett on the half hour mark when Peter tried his luck with a half volley, his shot just went past the post. It was one of the few times the Dons got some real pace into
their attack. Too often it was slow ball which allowed St Johnstone to get back into their shape.

The first half was very even. It wasn't littered with chances as both sides showed their strength at the back. As the break approached James Maddison lit up Pittodrie with a lovely piece of skill that took him right past the Saints midfield, a reminder of the talent the young man possesses. Sadly there was to be no dazzling individual goal as his shot from 20 yards was blocked by Steven Anderson.

At the end of stoppage time Pawlett was ready to try his luck from outside the box with the Dons looking dangerous. Unfortunately Kevin Clancy decided there wasn't enough time left, much to the frustration of The Red Army who sensed an opening.

HT Aberdeen 0 – 0 St Johnstone

Aberdeen made a double change at the start of the half with Pawlett and McGinn making way for Logan and Stockley. The introduction of Shay allowed Ryan Jack to push into the midfield, an area the Dons had struggled to control in the first half, and Jayden's physical presence up front would be a different threat for the Dons.

Right at the start of the half Jonny Hayes did well to create an opening, then forcing a save out of Zander Clark, but the keeper did well to hold the shot. Maddison and Logan linked up well five minutes later forcing a corner from the shot. McLean managed to get his head on the cross but Clark was alert to make the save. It was another good chance from a set-piece. Either side of the keeper and it might have gone in.

At this stage, midway through the half, Aberdeen had a lot of possession but were struggling to get in behind at any point.

The visitors then got themselves on the front foot for the first time in the half when Richard Foster's run fooled Considine and O'Connor. He won a corner, which Stockley managed to clear.

The game opened up on the hour mark with Aberdeen winning several set piece chances, but failing to do anything with them. It was a similar story at the other end of the pitch with St Johnstone struggling to find a way through the Dons defence. They did manage to test Joe Lewis when Steven MacLean tried a shot from outside the box, with Joe taking no chances and tipping the ball over the bar.

There was a real heart stopping moment with 10 minutes to go when Shinnie's short back pass allowed Liam Craig in, but Joe Lewis put him under enough pressure to stop him sliding the ball underneath his body. Instead, it rolled past the post. The visitors at this point were looking the more likely team to score and wasted a couple of decent chances on the break. A bit more care with the final pass and the Dons couple have been in trouble.

With five minutes to go McLean gave away a foul at the edge of the box, giving Wotherspoon the chance to hit a free kick. The winger hit the post with his strike, almost identical to what happened in the League Cup Quarter Final. And just like that chance, Joe Lewis manage to get a touch on the ball to put it on the post. A quite superb save. The ball actually bounce off Lewis on the way back but thankfully went across the six yard box and was cleared by Considine with MacLean very close to getting on the end of the rebound.  

Sadly, unlike the cup game, there was to be no late winner despite a late flurry of activity by Aberdeen. Once again, the two teams had failed to find the net against another each other and a draw was probably a fair result in the end

Up next for The Dons, it's Motherwell on Tuesday night as the busy run of fixtures in December continues. There are still fifteen points to be played for before the winter shutdown.

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