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Match Preview | Aberdeen v St Johnstone
Competition: Ladbrokes Premiership
Match: Aberdeen v St Johnstone
Kick Off: 7.45pm
TV Coverage: RedTV International
Manager Derek McInnes sat down with the media on Monday afternoon ahead of our match with St Johnstone.
Shay Logan Racial Abuse
“I am really disappointed that anyone is subject to racist abuse in this day and age.
“Particular Shay who is a boy who I am so fond of and having to deal with it again.
“Shay is well versed in that. Rightly or wrongly he gets it (racially abused) and he deals with it. I thought he dealt with it brilliantly. He highlighted to the boy in question that his own club had black players.
“The boy has then contacted Shay, after Shay has exposed him and highlighted the racism. It comes to light that he is a 15-year-old boy. He should know better at 15 years of age; we all know right and wrong at that age.
“There has also got to be an understanding that they boy is full of remorse, he is apologetic, he has contacted Shay, he is deeply embarrassed, and Shay has accepted it.
“I think it is a positive outcome over something that was really unsavoury and not what you want to see.
“Shay deserves a lot of credit for dealing with it the way he did, in an adult fashion. He has seen the understanding that it is a 15-year-old boy and he is absolutely fine with it.
“Shay has been through a lot. There is not a lot that gets to him and upsets him, maybe he is more upset than he makes out but the way he has dealt with it has been admirable.
“You hope the boy in question is far more aware and has learnt from his error.
“Abuse is out there every day. We all get abused, wherever it is racial or whatever. It is too easy to throw abuse at people. Racial abuse in this day and age is ridiculous.
“I think there has been a positive outcome to this and a positive message with the way it has played out.”
“It is one point. It wasn’t the perfect performance because we didn’t win the game. We had chances to win the game and we are still bemoaning that.
“You don’t go to Ibrox and get a clean sheet and do as well as we did without doing a lot of things right. The players were fully committed as they always are. They were also fully concentrated, they played for the team, they put the club first. They sacrificed their own attacking instincts a lot of the time.
“We nullified Rangers. Rangers can play through you; they can play beyond you as they did a couple of times, but they can also hit you hard in the wider areas.
“Neither of their fullbacks got past my two wide boys. The sacrifice that everybody made allowed us to get the point that we deserved. It was the same point as we got the week before. We could have got all three if we had been a bit more clinical.
“We could have got all three at St Mirren if we had been more clinical and the referee does his job and gives us the penalty.”
Rest of The Season
“We will take the point and move on. We knuckle down and get on with the job in hand.
“The message is clear from us, we want to finish third, we want to qualify for Europe, and we want to have a brilliant cup run. I believe that and the squad believe that.
“There will be other games where we are asked the question to show more attacking threat and Wednesday will be exactly that.
“You cannot criticise us too much. Although we lost a poor goal against Motherwell, defensively and through the middle of the park we have been very solid.
“Solid only gets part of the job done. We want to be more creative, free flowing, flamboyant and instinctive in the final third. That is where these next couple of games will present that challenge. Hopefully we can show that side of our game as well.
“Last time out against Rangers we came back from two goals down and we got a deserved point at Pittodrie. We were hoping that could have been a bit of a catalyst, but it never really materialised.
“I think we have only lost three games in three months.
“We would like to be winning a lot more and Wednesday presents us with another chance to do that.”
“St Johnstone are a tough opponent for everybody. I watched their game back; I think they will be kicking themselves that they haven’t won all three points at the weekend against an inform Hearts team.
“St Johnstone have got a lot of experience. They are the type of team that when they go on a run, they can make it difficult for anybody. We have tasted that first hand wherever we have been in brilliant form or not such good form we have always found them to be a tough game.
“I expect Wednesday to be no different, we have just got to make sure that they have a tougher game than us.
“We have to make sure that we go and do a lot of what we did right on Saturday and show a bit more anger and passion in our performance so we can go out and get all three points.
“Nothing changes for us. We knuckle down and get on with the job.
“I have been through tough spells here before. I have always believed in the team and we have always worked through it. We have always managed to achieve a decent level of performance and look back at the end of the season satisfied enough.
“If we can finish third and have a brilliant cup run, that will hopefully finish off a good end to the season. That is what we are working towards and I know we are capable of doing.
“We just go quietly about our business, knuckle down and get on with it.
“We want to win games; we did a lot right to the win game on Saturday, but we didn’t. Hopefully we do a lot right on Wednesday and we win the game.
“We are not far away. We are getting boys fitter and stronger, players who have not been playing for a while, such as Ojo, McGeouch and Kennedy. We are getting boys up to speed.
“It is clear we still need to see improvements and I am confident that we will.”
“I am genuinely pleased for Stevie. I have known him since he was 14.
“What you can never aim at Stevie and I still see it when he plays for St Johnstone is his willingness to work for the team. His work rate is second to none. He is a boy who deserves his reward.
“It didn’t work out for him for whatever reason with us. He didn’t score enough goals for us and ultimately that was the narrative.
“He has started slowly at St Johnstone. He is a boy that can score goals if he is instinctive enough. We are mindful of that and we don’t want him to play well on Wednesday and we will need to deal with that.
“I genuinely hope he does well at St Johnstone and finds his form.”
“Craig Bryson is back in training. He is doing a bit of work. He is not in full training but did a bit of work with the squad this morning and hopefully we can increase his work this week and get a full weeks training into him next week and get him involved in the next couple of weeks.
“It is great to have his boots on and back in amongst the boys.
“Scott Wright is still out long term.
“Greg Leigh saw the specialist and got his injury re imaged on Friday. It is going along as we expect. Hopefully we can get him back into full training in the next three to four weeks.
“The fact that we are starting to get one or two injures back you are starting to see a bit more strength in the squad. We are getting a proper midfield in place that we haven’t had all season.
“Proper midfielders not only help you control games, but they also protect your back four. We have seen that side of it.
“Hopefully we can have that control and protection but also show our full capabilities as a team.”
So Far This Season.
It has been the story of 1-1 draws so far this season between the two sides. The Dons faced the Saints at Pittodrie back in September. Ryan Hedges put the home side in front just before the half hour mark with a well taken finish past Zander Clark. The Saints scored against the run of play just before the break when Michael O’Halloran’s deflected effort found its way past Joe Lewis.
There was to be a repeat of the score line when the two sides met again in November. The game marked a special landmark for Andy Considine who made his 500th appearance for the club. Aberdeen again took the lead through a superb finish from Sam Cosgrove. With The Dons in full control the Saints once again hit back with 20 minutes remaining when Matty Kennedy scored past Joe Lewis from close range. Matty of course would go onto sign for the Dons just two months later. The home side ended the game with nine men with Murray Davidson and Callum Hendry both shown their marching orders by referee Kevin Clancy. Despite the two man advantage the Dons couldn’t find a winner.
Head to Head
Played 138, won 56, drawn 44, lost 38. Scored 192, conceded 148.
Played 69, won 33, drawn 21, lost 15. Scored 110, conceded 62.
Biggest win at Pittodrie for Aberdeen:
Aberdeen 5 St Johnstone 0 – 3rd September 1983
Did you Know?
• Aberdeen scored more league goals against St Johnstone at Pittodrie in the 2017/18 season (7) than they did in the previous four seasons, when they racked up only six in nine attempts against their visitors from Perth.
• The biggest recorded attendance for a home league game against St Johnstone was 24,235 on 3rd January 1972 when goals from Arthur Graham (2), Joe Harper and Steve Murray saw the Dons win 4-2, Fred Aitken netting both for Saints.
• Derek McInnes managed St Johnstone against Aberdeen on nine occasions, winning four, drawing three and losing twice.
The Game That Was
30/07/17: Ladbrokes Premiership: Aberdeen 3 v 0 St Johnstone: Pittodrie
Aberdeen moved to joint top of the table with a convincing victory over the Perth side thanks to a hat-trick from Adam Rooney. The Dons opened the scoring inside the first 10 minutes when Adam Rooney headed home a superb Stevie May cross. The lead was doubled 10 minutes later when Rooney knocked in an Anthony O’Connor goal bound header. Aberdeen put the game beyond doubt in the second half when Adam Rooney scored from the spot after Ryan Christie had been brought down in the box. It was Rooney’s fourth hat-trick as an Aberdeen player and sent the Dons into the international break with three points.
Dons Line Up: Lewis, Logan, Shinnie, O’Connor, McLean, Stewart (Wright), Rooney, Arnason, McKenna, Christie (Ross), May (Maynard).
Match Page - Formation
Match Page - Text Commentary
Report | Dons slip up at home
ABERDEEN 0 ST JOHNSTONE 1
Wednesday 5th February 2020
Ref – Kevin Clancy
Att – 12,552
Aberdeen’s stuttering start to 2020 continued as they slipped to a single goal defeat to St Johnstone, conceding early and then unable to find a way through a well drilled opposition reargard.
Dons boss Derek McInnes made three changes to his starting line up following the Dons’ 0-0 draw with Rangers at Ibrox on Saturday afternoon. New signing Ronald Hernández was given his debut, Jon Gallagher and Ryan Hedges also coming into the XI. Shay Logan, Funso Ojo and Niall McGinn all moved to the subs’ bench.
Following their rollercoaster 3-3 draw with Hearts in Perth on Saturday, eighth placed St Johnstone also made three changes to their team, with Callum Booth, Jason Holt and Michael O’Halloran replacing Liam Gordon, Scott Tanser and Chris Kane.
The Dons made a sharp start, begun by a run from Matty Kennedy. When that broke down, the Dons still kept Saints penned in, Hedges finding Gallagher who fired into the side netting in the second minute.
But it was the visitors who snatched the lead after six minutes, one ball on the counter-attack slicing Aberdeen open, Craig’s pass from just inside his own half setting McCann away completely free through the middle and he advanced on goal to clip the ball past the exposed Joe Lewis.
The Dons looked shell shocked from there and Saints looked to take advantage, keeping Aberdeen pushed back, winning a free-kick just outside the box and then a corner but fortunately, the hosts survived. Gradually, they started to turn the tide and have more of the ball, but that early goal had left them with plenty to do.
Things got worse in the 19th minute when Ash Taylor went down, needing treatment on his left leg, but that proved fruitless and Michael Devlin was quickly introduced to the action in his place.
May and O’Halloran combined neatly down the right after a free-kick in the 21st minute, O’Halloran making a hash of his shot at goal, much to Aberdeen’s relief. Saints were still looking sharp on the break, Wotherspoon firing straight at Lewis a minute later. It became one change each in the 27th minute when O’Halloran went down with a similar injury to Taylor and he limped off to make way for Wright.
The home side won a first corner in the 32nd minute after some good, patient build up play. Kennedy played the ball into the near post, Scott McKenna glancing a header just wide.
The Dons were almost on terms in the 42nd minute, Hernández’s throw to Hedges allowing the Welshman to turn inside and find a clean first time strike with the left foot, Clark batting the ball to safety, by far Aberdeen’s best moment of the half.
Aberdeen kept the pressure on, winning two corners in injury time. There were good deliveries from Hedges and then Kennedy, but Saints survived them both and got to the break still a goal to the good.
HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 0 ST JOHNSTONE 1
Aberdeen made their second change ahead of the second half, Gallagher replaced by McGinn as the Dons went looking to get back on terms.
They almost did so in the 49th minute, Kennedy driving through the middle before feeding Sam Cosgrove. He was forced a shade too far wide but still got a shot away, Clark saving with his feet.
There was much more urgency about Aberdeen now and greater territorial control too as Saints dropped back in numbers to protect their lead. The visitors were defending well, all in their own half, space at a premium for the Aberdeen players. That sheer weight of numbers saved them in the 57th minute when McGinn played a fine cross through the box that took a fortunate deflection clear off McCart.
Ralston collected the game’s first yellow card for dissent, screaming in the face of the assistant referee on the hour mark when he didn’t get a corner decision go his way. Saints made their second change a minute later, May replaced by Kane, then McGeouch went into the book for a clumsy challenge on Holt.
The Dons made their final change of the night in the 66th minute, Hernández replaced by Bruce Anderson. That upped the tempo again, Aberdeen winning a fourth corner in the 70th minute, Saints clearing their lines again as Aberdeen struggled to end their goal drought.
Kennedy was hacked down by McCann in the 76th minute, the goalscorer going in the book as Aberdeen tried to find a way through. The free-kick almost brought the equaliser, McGinn’s ball in worming its way through to McKenna in the six yard box, but he couldn’t get a clean enough contact on it, giving Clark the chance to push the ball clear.
A 60 yard run from Ferguson got him into the box from where he won an 81st minute corner, McCart defending it well at the back post. From there, the Dons huffed and puffed but St Johnstone looked increasingly comfortable with each passing minute.
Aberdeen won a free-kick on the edge of the D in the 91st minute, McGinn’s terrific effort curling over the wall, smacking against the inside of the post before bouncing away to safety.
In the end though, it was a carbon copy of last month’s defeat to Motherwell, a poor goal conceded making for a long night against a massed 11 man defence which the Dons simply couldn’t break down. It was all the more frustrating with Motherwell being thrashed 4-0 at home to Celtic, the Dons passing up the chance to go back into third place in the table.
ABERDEEN: Lewis, Hernández (Anderson 66), Taylor (Devlin 20), McKenna, Considine, McGeouch, Ferguson, Hedges, Gallagher (McGinn 46), Kennedy, Cosgrove
Subs not used: Cerny, Logan, Ojo, Campbell
BOOKED: McGeouch, Ferguson
ST JOHNSTONE: Clark, Ralston, Kerr, McCart, Booth, O’Halloran (Wright 27), McCann, Craig, Holt, Wotherspoon, May (Kane 61)
Subs not used: Parish, Butcher, Hendry, Duffy, Jones
GOAL: McCann (6)
BOOKED: Ralston, McCann