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Match Preview | Kilmarnock v Aberdeen

March 3, 2020 10:00 pm Author: Aberdeen FC
Match Preview | Kilmarnock v Aberdeen

 

Competition: Ladbrokes Premiership
Match: Kilmarnock v Aberdeen
Venue: Rugby Park
Kick Off: 19:45
TV Coverage: Red TV International & BBC Alba

Derek McInnes sat down with the media this afternoon to carry out his usual pre match press duties ahead of tomorrow nights trip to face Kilmarnock.

Scott McKenna Injury

“The results of the scan were our biggest fear.

“We were hoping that he would be available for the semi-final. We anticipated him missing the next four games up until the break and as a consequence of that the Scotland game. The news we got was the worst possible.

“It was the tendon coming off the bone. It is almost exactly like Funso Ojo’s one against St Johnstone. There are similarities in the mechanism of how it happened. Both got a nudge in the back as they are running at full pelt. I think that break in their running pattern has caused that distress to their hamstring.

“Unfortunately for us it makes it very tight for him to be back playing again this season. He is not ruled out because everybody reacts differently to their rehabilitation.

“That type of injury normally keeps players out for around three to four months. Scott has been a good healer in the past so you never know.

“It is a real blow. A real blow for him and his aspirations in terms of wanting to finish the season strong with us. His performances have been good. He will miss out with Scotland as well.

“Selfishly for us we are losing a key player.

“We just need to deal with it.

 

Injuries This Season

“It has been a season where we have had significant injuries to key players for periods of time which has not been helpful.

“There is still plenty to play for. We want to get into Europe, we want to get that third spot and we want to get to another Scottish Cup final. We will have to deal with it. We are going to have to do all of that without Scott’s help which makes it that bit tougher for us.

“A club like Aberdeen should have four good centre backs. Obviously, Andy is filling in at left back at the minute.

“We probably won’t get Greg Leigh back until after the international break, but he is on his way back.

“We are a bit stretched over the next four games in terms of our defensive numbers. Young Jack Mackenzie will come into the squad for tomorrow.

“Having the experience and the ability of Mikey and Ash is great for us and it is much needed.

“It is the worst set of injuries that I have had during my time here and the facts tell you that.

“It is more of the longevity and the seriousness of the injuries to key players that has been a key factor. When you run with such a tight squad, you can maybe overcome a certain period over a few weeks.

“Scott’s injury is a bit out of the norm, as was Ojo’s.

St Mirren Game

“I was pleased with the performance on Saturday. We scored a brilliant goal from Lewis Ferguson. I thought technically his goal was right up there.

“I thought that we were good in the game. We didn’t need to make the game too dramatic in the second half, we wanted to try and be that counter attacking team and bring St Mirren onto us. St Mirren are a team who like to sit in and counter on you, so the onus was on them.

“I was probably expecting St Mirren to throw the kitchen sink at us a bit more, but it was quite comfortable in the end.

“It was two tough games we had against Kilmarnock and St Mirren, but we have managed to navigate ourselves into a semi-final. We will look forward to it.

Looking Forward to a Scottish Cup Semi-Final

“Whenever we have had a Scottish cup semi-final or final to look forward to, we get a bit of kickback from everyone. It focuses everyone. It brings a feelgood factor to the club and to the supporters. There was a fantastic crowd there in difficult conditions on Saturday. You get so much from a good cup run.

“We have been a good cup team, there is no doubt about it, but we want to be an even better cup team. At least we are putting ourselves in a position that we can compete. With the cup to look forward to I am hoping that edge to our play that is needed in our league form is there. The inconsistency of the league form has not been what we want. Our away form is good and hopefully that can continue tomorrow night.

“It is the business end of the season; we have 10 league games and hopefully have two cup games to finish with. I have never been one to use the injuries as an excuse.

“We have got good players who are fit. It is important that we don’t dwell on that and focus on the ones who are fit and are available.

Midfield

“It was such a big game for the club on Saturday but it shows you the trust that I have in Dean that I put him in. It was important that we had that balance in our midfield against St Mirren that allowed Ferguson to make those types of forward runs. With Dean suspended tomorrow we have got other options with Dylan.

“Craig Bryson wont play on astro turf. We have made that decision. He will continue his preparations ahead of the game against Hibernian. We are without a couple of midfield options, but we have good enough players who can play in there.

The Red Shed

“The club should be applauded for driving it as well as the supporters and everybody involved in the red shed.

“There is clearly an appetite for it.

“I just wished the two games that we played with the Red Shed we had delivered better performances and scored more goals for them. I don’t think that has diluted the enthusiasm for it and it shows you what can be done.

“It was such a well-received idea and the supporters have driven it on. The fact that we can now have a designated area of the ground that is geared to creating that atmosphere is brilliant for us. There is no doubt that it has made a huge difference. Even in those two games where we were hardly ripping up tress and playing brilliant football, they still played a huge part in helping to create that atmosphere and getting that level of excitement.

“That is what you want from Pittodrie.

“People say to me if the team was playing better that we would get a better atmosphere.

“When we were playing at our best a couple of seasons ago, competing at the top of the table and playing really well with an exciting team, the atmosphere was still getting aimed at us that it wasn’t good enough.

“It has to come from the supporters and the club working together to drive it.

“It is a brilliant initiative.

“I am really excited and looking forward to the fact that is going to be the norm from next season, and I think the supporters are as well.

 

Ronald Hernandez

“We have got to remember that we brought him in during January and that he hadn’t played for around seven to eight weeks.

“His body is in pre-season and because of the midweek games we have had and the demands of the games he has not been able to get a lot of match practice.

“He played last week in the Reserve Cup semi-final against Motherwell and did very well. He came through that. His general fitness is very good and his enthusiasm and desperation to play is clear.

“The games have been so important of late that we don’t have the luxury to just throw him in and have the patience to get up to speed. I have no doubt that he will play his part between now and the end of the season. It is great to have that exciting option from a defensive area.

“He will prove his worth I have no doubt about that.

Greg Leigh

“He has some decent news from the specialist that he is out of the boot now. He just needs to build it back up because he has been inactive for so long. We are just trying to make sure there are no added complications as we go long.

“He won’t be available for the next four games but hopefully will be available for Hearts after the international break.

“Nearer that time, we can maybe have a think what is happening with him.”

So Far This Season

Aberdeen are unbeaten against Kilmarnock in all four of their league and cup encounters this season.

Two of those encounters have finished goalless, one in the league and the other in the cup. The Dons won the other league encounter between the sides back in November at Pittodrie thanks to goals from Curtis Main, Sam Cosgrove and a late Scott McKenna strike.

The fourth match between the sides came just two weeks ago in an unforgettable Scottish Cup fifth round replay at Rugby Park which The Dons ran out 4-3 winners thanks to a last-minute own goal from Connor Johnson.

The Game That Was

01/10/16: Ladbrokes Premiership: Kilmarnock 0-4 Aberdeen: Rugby Park

Aberdeen made it four wins on the spin with a comfortable victory over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park. Two goals from Adam Rooney, one from the penalty spot, and goals apiece from Andy Considine and Ash Taylor gave The Dons their 11th consecutive victory over the Rugby Park side.

Dons Line Up: Lewis, Logan, Taylor, O’Connor, Considine, McLean, Shinnie, McLean, McGinn (Burns), Maddison, Hayes (Storey), Rooney (Stockley).

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Report | Dons fightback for a point

March 4, 2020 9:49 pm Author: Malcolm Panton
Report | Dons fightback for a point

 

KILMARNOCK 2 ABERDEEN 2
SPFL Premiership
Wednesday 4th March 2020
Rugby Park
Ref – Alan Newlands
Att – 4,217

A stirring fightback from the Dons after a poor opening to the game saw them recover from two down to grab a draw at Rugby Park. The second half offered moments where they might even have gone on to take the win, though neither side could really argue with the final outcome.

Aberdeen extend their unbeaten run in Kilmarnock to 17 games.

Report

There were two enforced changes to the starting XI for the Dons after the 2-0 at St Mirren in the Scottish Cup up on Saturday night with Scott McKenna missing with injury and Dean Campbell suspended after his red card against Ross County. In to replace them were Michael Devlin and Connor McLennan – making his 50th appearance for the Dons – with Jon Gallagher, Ryan Hedges and young Jack MacKenzie adding to the matchday 18 on the bench, Sam Cosgrove and Craig Bryson both absent from Saturday’s substitutes.

Seventh placed Kilmarnock made three changes to the side that lost 3-1 at Celtic on February 23rd, Dario Del Fabro, Mohamed El Makrini and Alan Power replaced by Rory McKenzie, Greg Kiltie and Chris Burke.

Unusually for the last couple of months, the game on the artificial surface started in good conditions, cold but dry. Aberdeen started brightly, fashioning a chance for Niall McGinn in the third minute, the Northern Irish international firing just over from 20 yards after a tidy lay-off from Curtis Main.
The hosts won the game’s first corner in the ninth minute, Burke’s delivery eluding everyone. Killie recaptured possession and McKenzie unleashed a ferocious effort from distance, Joe Lewis doing well to palm it away.

A good touch around halfway from Brophy in the 12th minute took him away from Devlin. Advancing on goal down the left, from just inside the box he slashed a shot across the face of goal, the ball thumping against the base of the far post before bouncing clear. The same player then had another chance when he forced Lewis into a smart stop at his near post.

Lewis Ferguson had a great chance to open the scoring on 15 minutes, McLennan crossing well on the turn, the ball bouncing off Ferguson from close range before he had chance to properly react, Branescu saving comfortably.

A minute later, Killie had a penalty, the harshest of decisions against Ash Taylor who had rushed out to block a McKenzie shot, the ball striking the back of his arm as he went side on to the attacker. To add insult to injury, Taylor was booked, then Brophy stepped up to send Lewis the wrong way and give his side the lead.

It was 2-0 in the 22nd minute, Kiltie the scorer, Findlay playing it through to him on the edge of the box. A clever turn from Kiltie gave him a yard of space to get his shot away, the ball taking enough of a deflection to drift it away from Lewis and into the net. In the first quarter of the game, the hosts were that bit sharper and quicker to the ball, causing the Dons all kinds of trouble.

A free-kick wide out on the left from Burke had Lewis stretching to pluck the ball out of the air in the 27th minute as the home side continued to play with real confidence.

Aberdeen gradually started to roll the tide back around the half hour mark, but they were struggling to fashion a real chance to get back into the game. They won a first corner in the 37th minute after some good possession, but Killie were able to hack the ball clear.

A minute later, though, the Dons scored a cracker, good patience from Ferguson down the right eventually giving McLennan chance to fire in a low cross, McGinn manufacturing a terrific first time finish, fetching the ball almost from behind him but still getting enough on it to bullet the ball past Branescu from 12 yards.

The Dons were a yard quicker to everything now after that sluggish start, pinning Kilmarnock back into their final third as they pressed for an equaliser. Time eventually ran out for them in the first half, but after a poor first half an hour, Aberdeen had at least clawed their way back into the game, Devlin producing a terrific piece of defending right at the death to cut out a dangerous looking cross from Burke.

HALF-TIME: KILMARNOCK 2 ABERDEEN 1

After a scrappy start to the half, Aberdeen were back on terms in the 50th minute. It came from great work by Matty Kennedy wide on the left, scorching past O’Donnell before crossing into the near post where McLennan finished the job, ghosting in to nod home from close range.

It could have been three a minute later, McLennan darting away into space on the left and producing a fine cross, Devlin unable to get quite enough on his header to beat Branescu.

Main had an even better chance in the 55th minute, Funso Ojo’s persistence seeing him bundle his way into the box, the ball lobbing up for Main at the back post, just that shade too high for him to get a comfortable connection on it, putting his header just wide.

Killie finally got out of their own half on the hour, winning a corner on their left. Well worked it was too, McKenzie putting it deep to the back post, O’Donnell charging in to meet it on the volley, Lewis producing a great save to tip the ball over.

Ferguson collected a yellow card on the 64th minute, pulling Kiltie down on halfway as Kilmarnock tried to break quickly, Logan following him into the book a minute later. From the resulting free-kick, Brophy smashed one at goal from fully 35 yards, Lewis sharply across to his left to save as the pendulum swung again.

McLennan collected the Dons’ fourth card of the night in the 68th minute for a late challenge as the home side began to impose themselves. The game was becoming much more stretched as Kilmarnock’s extra week between games started to help them come back into things.

The game became fractious as Findlay suggested that Ferguson should collect a second yellow card after nothing more than a collision between the two. The same with McLennan moments later. Aberdeen then withdrew McLennan in the 75th minute, Bruce Anderson replacing him.

Findlay had a golden chance in the 76th minute, getting up to win a header eight yards out, right in the centre of the goal, only to put it over the bar. Three minutes later, the referee somehow missed a blatant foul on Ferguson in the D, then booking Kennedy alone after he and O’Donnell were ripping the shirts off each other’s backs.

Five minutes to go and O’Donnell fired in a dangerous cross from the right, Kabamba rising to meet it, Lewis clutching the ball with a sharp save. The same player then produced a quick turn in the box three minutes later before snatching at his shot and putting it well wide.

Findlay wasn’t far away in the 89th minute, his shot from ten yards out well blocked by Andrew Considine, a crucial intervention. The Dons then replaced McGinn with Ryan Hedges. Killie kept pressing, Kabamba up well to meet a Hamalainen cross, but putting his effort well wide of goal. That miss sealed the draw, probably a fair refection of the evening’s play.

FULL-TIME: KILMARNOCK 2 ABERDEEN 2

KILMARNOCK: Branescu, O’Donnell, Findlay, Broadfoot, Hamalainen, Burke, Dicker, Kiltie, McKenzie, Brophy, Kabamba
Subs not used: Koprivec, Millen, Johnson, St Clair, Del Fabro, Taylor, Connell
GOALS: Brophy (pen) (17), Kiltie (22)

ABERDEEN: Lewis, Logan, Taylor, Devlin, Considine, Ojo, Ferguson, McLennan (Anderson 75), McGinn (Hedges 90+1), Kennedy, Main
Subs not used: Cerny, Hernandez, MacKenzie, McGeouch, Gallagher
GOAL: McGinn (38), McLennan (50)
BOOKED: Taylor, Ferguson, Logan, McLennan, Kennedy.

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