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Match Preview | Aberdeen v Hamilton Accies
Competition: Scottish Premiership
Match: Aberdeen v Hamilton Accies
Kick Off: 15:00
TV Coverage: RedTV International, Virtual Season Ticket and Pay Per View. Audio Commentary is available to RedTV UK subscribers.
The manager sat down with the media via Zoom this lunchtime to preview Saturday’s game with Hamilton Accies.
Return of the Scottish Cup
“It is good news. We were maybe thinking a couple of weeks ago that there may have been some delay with it running onto next season. The lower leagues are pivotal to that to get back playing and that gives us the green light to try and carry on through to get the tournament finished, which is what everybody wants.
“Crowds have an impact on cup football, but the bigger picture is getting the tournament finished which is great for everybody and gives everybody something to focus on.
“We feel as if there is a race on, we have got to play our part in that and start winning games between now and the end of the season. There is going to be a lot of important games. If we keep winning games and picking up points, then the importance will be there. We are just concentrating on the next game, which is Hamilton at home, and picking up three points, if we can, and we will see where the points tally takes us. We have got an idea of what we need to do to give ourselves a chance of finishing third and we will work towards that.
Final Seven League Games
“We have got to concentrate on just getting wins. The last two away performances at Celtic Park and the victory over Kilmarnock, the performances have been decent, and we have been pleased with a lot of aspects of it, ultimately, we didn’t pick up any points at Celtic Park. It is results over performance. You want both but that is not always the case. For us it is important to find ways to win between now and the end of the season and make it a finish the way we want it to finish. It has been a challenging season, but we still feel that if we finish third it will be something worthwhile and it will be a good recognition of the work done by everybody.
“At this stage of the season every team has got something to play for. Hamilton have done it over the years, they are a brilliant story, they always find big results and it will not phase them one bit coming to Pittodrie to get that victory. I watched their game with St Johnstone, and it will be a sore one for them to lose a goal so late on having put so much into the game, a draw was probably a fair result.
“They have shown of late that ability to win games and we are well aware of the dangers they have. They have some good players, they are all very hard working, a very committed team. I have come up against Billy Reid’s Hamilton team, Alex Neil’s Hamilton team, Martin Canning’s Hamilton team and now Brian Rice’s and they are all the same, they have a DNA at Hamilton and they let you know they are there every single time you play them. We are going to have to overcome that challenge but the motivation for my team is to get the three points and we are hoping to see that in the performance.
“I have said it often enough that the team at the bottom of the table changes week to week at times. Hamilton has a game in hand which can make a massive difference and if they had held on against St Johnstone they could have jumped up two or three places, so it shows how quickly it can change. I will be more surprised if Hamilton will be bottom of the table come the end of the season and that tells you what I think of them, they always find a way. I like a lot of their players, their manager gets a spirited performance out of them, they are organised, and they have had some good results. You wouldn’t bet against them staying in the league.
“We will have to show that competitive side, which is a given for our team, we are always ready for that. What I do want us to do is to take Saturday’s performance at Celtic Park, playing with that bravery in possession, that bravery in winning tackles and putting ourselves forward and putting balls in the box. We need to be competitive regardless of who we are playing. It will be a difficult game for us, but we need to make sure it is more difficult for Hamilton.
One Year Without Full Crowds
“I remember the victory against Hibs at Pittodrie (7th March 2020), it was a brilliant atmosphere and a brilliant performance, we got the job done that day. It has been a strange year since that. We always recognise who we play for and we know the supporters want the team to do well, even though they can’t be there in person. It is up to us to try and achieve what we want to achieve in this strange season. It is still the same achievement with or without fans and that is what we are striving for.
“Once you make a decision to be a professional footballer in the modern era or any public facing role and you make yourself more available on social media, then you have got to accept that there will be times that you get criticised and abused. There has to be a level of decency with all of that and these platforms have to control a lot of what is getting said. In Flo’s instance, the abuse he received clearly crossed the line. Flo and a lot of the younger lads here have grown up in this world with social media, they are well versed in it and they see so much nonsense written in it. When it is as abusive as what was directed towards Flo, then everybody has to take that seriously. Flo was okay with it; he is a bit more experienced than some but if that was somebody younger or somebody not with the capacity to deal with it in the same way then we have got to be mindful of that and not everybody can deal with it in the same way.
“I do think the social media platforms have to have that responsibly to try and eradicate that type of personal abuse.
“Niall has got an extra spring in his step; he has been playing the last couple of games. He has done very well. We are looking for those at the top end of the pitch to contribute. If everybody at the top end of the pitch can get a couple of goals, if the defenders and midfielders can chip in with a goal then it certainly helps us to achieve our objectives. Anytime we have had positive ends to the season or positive results then Niall has been a key player for me. It is good to see that he has shown something similar in the last couple of games.”
Head to Head
Played 111, won 58, drawn 18, lost 35. Scored 203, conceded 138.
Played 56, won 41, drawn 7, lost 8. Scored 131, conceded 44.
Did you Know?
• Anthony O’Connor’s goal against Accies on the opening day of season 2017-18 at Pittodrie was the 8,000th competitive goal in Aberdeen Football Club’s history.
• Lewis Ferguson’s 21st minute piledriver on 20th October 2020 was Aberdeen’s 200th League goal against Accies.
• Accies win on 27th February 2019 was their first success in the Granite City since May 2010 when they won 3-1 in a game which saw the Dons end with nine men as Richard Foster and Zander Diamond both saw red.
Last five games between the sides at Pittodrie:
20 Oct 2020: Aberdeen 4 (Hoban, Ferguson, Edmondson 2) Accies 2 (Moyo, Callachan pen)
14 Dec 2019: Aberdeen 1 (Cosgrove) Accies 0
27 Feb 2019: Aberdeen 0 Accies 2 (Oakley, Miller)
31 Oct 2018: Aberdeen 3 (Shinnie, Wilson, Devlin) Accies 0
03 Feb 2018: Aberdeen 3 (Considine 2, McGinn) Accies 0
Match Page - Formation
Match Page - Text Commentary
match report | Dons fail to take their chances
Derek McInnes made two change to the side defeated 1-0 at Celtic Park last Saturday with Callum Hendry and Dylan McGeouch coming into the starting XI at the expense of Connor McLennan and Dean Campbell, who both dropped to the bench. Michael Ruth joined them, Ryan Duncan missing out on the matchday squad.
There were two changes for Hamilton Accies from Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw at home to St Johnstone, with Jamie Hamilton and Nathan Thomas coming into the side in place of Charlie Trafford and Aberdeen loanee Bruce Anderson, who was ineligible for the game.
For the first time in a while, conditions were set fair for some good football, the swirling wind that’s disfigured recent games at Pittodrie not an issue. The Dons made a rapid start, Jonny Hayes urging the side on down the left in the opening minute after a neat move, the hosts showing real aggressive intent from the off.
Flo Kamberi was the first to have a shot at goal some 11 minutes in, a neat turn giving him some breathing space 25 yards out, but he dragged his shot wide. Moyo then placed a shot into Joe Lewis’ gloves from the edge of the box five minutes later as the game struggled to find any real shape.
In the 18th minute, the Dons should have had the lead but they couldn’t force the ball into the net. Niall McGinn pinched the ball 30 yards out and drove into the box. Seeing Fulton coming to meet him, he squared for Kamberi but his first touch was not ideal, forcing him to try to evade a couple of covering defenders before shooting. His shot was then blocked, McGinn trying to manufacture an acrobatic shot from the rebound, Martin doing well to head clear in the six yard box.
That had lit the blue touchpaper for Aberdeen though and McGinn was in the mood again in the 21st minute, a low drive into the six yard box reaching Hendry who clipped his shot just over. Fulton was in the action a minute later, charging off the line to just beat Ross McCrorie to the ball as he chased a raking Lewis Ferguson pass.
In the 23rd minute, Hendry was about six inches away from scoring, Kamberi to the by-line and pulling the ball back. It took a slight deflection away from Hendry but he still got a touch on it, deflecting the ball across goal but agonisingly just wide of goal.
Three clear cut chances for Aberdeen but no goals.
Accies threatened after 37 minutes, Thomas squirming his way into the box, both Moyo and Hodson having shots at goal, both well blocked by the Dons defenders who had scurried back in numbers to do their job in front of Lewis. Thomas was injured in the move and needed lengthy treatment before eventually being replaced by Smith.
Callachan then smacked a snapshot at goal from fully 35 yards out. It took a wicked deflection off Ash Taylor, Lewis having to go full stretch to tip the looping ball wide. The Dons were on the break from the resulting corner, Hayes spearing a terrific crossfield ball 50 yards forward into the run of McGinn. He has to take his shot first time on the edge of the area, dragging his effort just wide in the 44th minute. Aberdeen then had some set pieces just before half time but could not force an opening.
HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 0 HAMILTON ACADEMICAL 0
The Dons started on the front foot after the break, a nice flowing move in the 49th minute ending with Tommie Hoban’s cross into the box, Kamberi up highest to win the header but not getting enough power on it to discomfort Fulton.
Two minutes later, Odoffin and Easton collided on halfway, Odoffin coming off worst, the physio’s magic sponge and a yard of bandage around the head eventually getting him back on his feet.
McGinn wasn’t far away in the 57th minute after some good possession football from Aberdeen. It culminated in Hayes playing the ball into McGinn who drove at goal from a tight angle, Fulton doing well to clutch the ball at the near post. Tommie Hoban then collected the day’s first yellow card for a high foot in a challenge with Moyo.
Just past the hour, Aberdeen won a corner on the left, McGinn putting a cross in at the second attempt, Taylor up for it at the back post but unable to get an angle to head at goal, putting his effort wide. Andrew Considine then followed Hoban into the book for a similar offence, though his foot was no higher than Smith’s in the challenge.
McLennan was the first change for the home side, replacing Hendry in the 65th minute. Almost immediately he was on the chase with Easton, the Accies defender injuring himself in trying to clear and having to make way for Munro.
Accies had a real chance in the 78th minute as the ball fell nicely for Scott Martin on the edge of the box but Hoban was there to get an important block on the shot. Matty Kennedy was the next Aberdeen change two minutes later, Taylor the man to make way, then Ruth came on for his debut in place of McGinn in the Dons’ final change. Accies responded by withdrawing Moyo for Hughes.
Seven minutes were added on but the game continued to drift, the Dons unable to create any clear opportunities, despite Kennedy twice getting to the by-line to cross. The game ended with Accies taking their time over a late corner, the Dons trying to hit them on the break, McMann hauling Kennedy down and going into the book. From Hayes’ free-kick, McLennan got up to win the header but sadly it made for an easy save for Fulton with the last touch of the game.
ABERDEEN: Lewis, Hoban, Taylor (Kennedy 80), Considine, McCrorie, McGeouch, Ferguson, Hayes, McGinn (Ruth 88), Kamberi, Hendry (McLennan 65).
Subs not used: Woods, Logan, Campbell, Virtanen, Ross, MacKenzie.
BOOKED: Hoban, Considine
HAMILTON ACADEMICAL: Fulton, Hamilton, A. Martin, Easton (Munro 69), McMann, Hodson, Odoffin, Callachan, S. Martin, Thomas (Smith 41), Moyo (Hughes 90+1).
Subs not used: Gourlay, Stirling, Trafford, Stanger, Mimnaugh, Winter.