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Match Preview | Aberdeen v Motherwell
Competition: Scottish Premiership
Match: Aberdeen v Motherwell
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 via Zoom, with the media to preview our game with Motherwell at Pittodrie.
“It was a horrible afternoon. We accept that and we accept our responsibility in that. I understand criticism, I expect it and I am used to it. The players are used to it as well when we don’t get the results that are expected of us. There is no hiding away from it. What we have got to do is concentrate on the next game, work away and continue with what we have always done which is to provide consistent level of performances over our time here. My remit when I came in here was to try and get the club into the top six, to try and win a cup when we can, try and compete at the right end of the table. We have continued to qualify for Europe throughout my time here, we have developed players, we have sold Scott McKenna for a club record fee. Defensively we have been pretty sound despite selling Scott, we always thought it could have been a significant departure for us because of how important a player he was.
“Defensively we have been very good, for the majority of the season, on Saturday we were not and that puts more focus on our end product, which at times hasn’t been good enough this season and it is something we need to improve on.
“We continue to work hard; we continue to strive for a European spot. The consistency that we have shown in my time here, with different squads, has been widely recognised by the board and the board are grateful for what that consistency has shown. The majority of other clubs would look at that consistency for something to work towards. We have that consistency; we will continue to show that consistency and we expect to show that again towards our campaigns.
“The response to a disappointing result has always got to be there. From our point of view, we haven’t won in three games. We drew against Dundee Utd, we should have done better, we go down to 10 men against Rangers and we lose. We can’t hide behind Saturday’s result, it was a poor performance, a poor afternoon, a horrible day.
“We have shown enough consistency in this campaign to show that we are a better side than what Saturday suggested and hopefully we can go and show that.
“All you can do is come in, give an honest day’s work, work hard and have a way of working that normally produces results. We have had good squads; we have had good players and we have the difficulties of trying to replace them. We work with different players, year in, year out but the instruction is the same, we have to be as a competitive as we can be, certainly be more competitive than we were at the weekend.
“I know what it takes to get that consistency, the board recognises and are grateful of what we have done in the last wee while. It has been a combined effort from everybody at the club to try and show what we are capable of being. I still want us to be better. I am not sitting back living off the back of previous campaigns, we are still striving to be better. It is getting more and more harder to hold onto your better players, it is a challenge but we still try to be as competitive as we possibly can be, get to cup finals, qualify for Europe every year as we have done, develop players, make the club money and make Cormack Park work over the next few seasons and generate money.
“If you look at their last two games there has been a consistency of team shape, a consistency of selection. Graham has come in and looked to build a bit of confidence and tried to be hard to beat. I think that is exactly what they have been. They deserved their point against Rangers, and they would have won the game against St Mirren but for a very soft penalty.
“They look like a well drilled team out of possession. Rangers for all of their possession didn’t have too many clear-cut chances and I think that is testament to the work that has probably done on the training pitch.
“I played against Graham loads. We have got mutual friends. I was in a few Scotland squad with him, he got on in a lot more games than me! I really liked him. He worked under Owen Coyle who is a friend of mine and I used to go and watch Burnley regularly as well. He is a guy who I have a lot of time for. As a player he gave great service to each and everyone of his clubs, he was a great servant for Scotland, and I think it is a good appointment from Motherwell. It is good to see him up here. He has done all of his work as a player and manager down in England, he will be desperate to do a good job and I am sure he will do a good job.
“We know it is a challenge for clubs to provide the best that they can, space is the biggest issue, there are clubs who do it better than others. I am not going to criticise any club here, but I have made my views known to representatives at our club and to delegates about a couple of away grounds that I have been to, where if we had a positive test, we would be in real danger of wiping out the majority of the team. I do think it is great that the league are getting involved, they should have been involved from the start, they should have been overseeing this and making sure the space provided by all clubs was the much in the same. The majority of the clubs that we have visited have done brilliant work but there are one or two, which I am not going to name, who could do it better and should be made to do it better.
“It is not just our centre forwards; we are looking for more from everybody. Even on Saturday the chances were not just falling to Cosgrove and Main, it was falling for others. Some of our build up play was very good, we got to where we wanted to get to, and it is just looking for that quality. Of course, we want more, there has got to be a demand on them to score more goals, we are in the January window, but we don’t have the luxury to look out with, so we work with what we have. I am fully supportive of the squad that we have. For us to fulfil for what we want to do this season, we do need to have more prowess and be far more clinical in those forward areas, but that is everybody that is an Aberdeen shirt.
“I said at the time it was the triple whammy of the penalty, the red card and the suspension for a boy who tried everything he could not to make the challenge. He has been fantastic this season and I still think there is more to come from him, and we work hard to get that. He is a player who can make a difference in tight games, he is a player who can provide that quality and certainly we missed him last week. Hopefully now we can move on. A lot of the pitches at the moment are challenging so we have got to find ways to win all the time. Having players like Ryan Hedges, who have the ability to go past people, he can make the difference.”
Head to Head
Played 272, Won 114, Drawn 86, Lost 72. Scored 446, Conceded 345.
Joe Harper scores his second goal against Motherwell as The Dons defeated the Fir Park side 7-2. The King of the Beach End scored four goals as the home side cruised to victory. Dave Robb, Drew Jarvie and Steve Murray scored the other three goals for the Dons.
26/03/79 – Aberdeen 7 v 2 Motherwell – Pittodrie.
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Match Page - Text Commentary
Report | Dons back to winning ways
ABERDEEN 2 MOTHERWELL 0
Saturday 23rd January 2021
Ref – Craig Napier
A dominant performance from Aberdeen saw them back to winning ways and back into third place as Derek McInnes’ side sealed a very comfortable 2-0 win over Motherwell.
There were two changes for the Dons, looking to bounce back from the 4-1 defeat at Ross County last weekend. In came Ryan Hedges, back from suspension and Funso Ojo, replacing the injured Ross McCrorie and Curtis Main, who started from the bench. Greg Leigh was among the subs after coming back from injury, replacing Kieran Ngwenya.
Motherwell’s starting XI were unchanged from the side that drew 1-1 with Rangers last weekend. There were three changes to their substitutes, Jake Hastie, Chris Long and Harry Smith replacing Jordan White, Steven Lawless and David Devine.
The Dons created the first opportunity in the fourth minute, Hedges going on a long, meandering run before finding Scott Wright. It was then onto Jonny Hayes who hoisted the ball to the far post, Sam Cosgrove heading behind. Gallagher was in the book two minutes later for a horrible looking late lunge on Lewis Ferguson.
Twelve minutes in, Hedges found himself in a shooting position, coming across goal from the right before bending a left footed shot just wide of goal. The Dons were in front in the 15th minute though, Matty Kennedy driving in an immaculately placed free-kick from wide on the right, Tommie Hoban rising in the middle of the penalty area to guide his header beyond Kelly and in.
It could have been two in the 17th minute, Hedges threading the ball through the six yard box without anyone getting a touch. Aberdeen recycled the ball well and Hedges then played a clever one-two with Wright across the top of the box, receiving the ball back and again driving a shot through the area but just wide.
There was real danger in the 20th minute, Motherwell coming down the left with Watt, Joe Lewis making a fine save as he drove his effort across goal. The rebound dropped nicely for Seedorf ten yards out, but Ojo was quickly onto him to block the shot. They were closer still three minutes later, a crossfield pass from Ojo intercepted by Watt on halfway. He drove goalwards and fired in a low shot that was past but Lewis but fortunately, it struck the base of the post and bounced back into Lewis’ arms.
Polworth and Wright tangled in the 25th minute, Polworth swinging his elbow and then kicking out at the prone figure of Wright, before then raising his arms to Ojo in the aftermath. Somehow, Polworth escaped with a yellow card, Wright given one too, presumably for being fouled. The whistler then gave Ojo a yellow too, underlining that he’d seen the second incident in which Polworth was involved, making his single yellow card all the more inexplicable.
A spell of Aberdeen pressure eventually gave Ferguson a sight of goal in the 32nd minute, coming onto the ball on the edge of the area, but he pulled his shot wide of the near post. The Dons were very much the better side at this point and going in search of that important second goal while pressing and defending well when they needed to.
HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 1 MOTHERWELL 0
Long replaced Seedorf for the visitors at the break, the Dons as they were. They were nearly two up in the opening minute. Hedges and Wright had the ball to themselves on the right of the Motherwell box before giving the ball to Hoban to cross. The ball was half cleared, Ojo running onto it, only to see his shot blocked.
Motherwell broke from there, Polworth colliding with Ferguson on halfway. From there, play went on but once the ball went dead, referee Napier came back and showed Polworth a straight red card, presumably for dissent given there looked nothing much in the challenge.
There were shouts for handball against Carroll in the 53rd minute as he leant forward into a Ferguson cross but the referee waved away the penalty claims. Three minutes later, Watt was replaced by Smith for the Steelmen.
Hedges was inches away in the 57th minute, great, patient possession from the Dons eventually working an opening for him on the edge of the area, but his left footed drive was just wide of goal with Kelly grasping at thin air.
Wright was close a moment later, Cosgrove intercepting on halfway, Hedges’ long ball getting Wright in behind the defence, Kelly very swiftly off his line to narrow the angle and save. There was an even better one in the 61st minute, Kennedy’s cross to the back post finding Ferguson. He got up well to head down and back across goal but Kelly was away to his right to brilliantly scoop the ball to safety. Motherwell boss Graham Alexander was next in the referee’s notebook in the 62nd minute after disputing a decision.
Kelly was at full stretch again in the 65th minute, good feet from Kennedy getting himself room to fire at goal from the left edge of the box, Kelly clawing it behind one handed. From the corner, Ash Taylor buried his header into the net only for the referee to rule it out for a push. It was one-way traffic now, but Motherwell were still clinging on.
Ferguson and Hedges opened ‘Well up again in the 70th minute with a quick passing routine, but Ferguson’s low cross was scrambled clear. Dean Campbell replaced Ojo a couple of minutes later in Aberdeen’s first change. A bobbling ball in the box nearly had Cosgrove in on goal almost immediately, but it just pinballed too far ahead of him to give Kelly the chance to tidy up.
A quick Aberdeen break saw Kelly involved again, diving to his right to push the ball behind from Kennedy’s deflected shot in the 76th minute. But from the corner, it was Andrew Considine on the mark to make it 2-0. Kennedy and Hedges worked a short corner, Hedges running into the box before picking out Ferguson. His shot was blocked but Considine was following in and he tucked the ball away for a first goal of the season on the day he went past Bobby Clark in the Dons’ league appearances chart.
Kelly was there to deny Cosgrove in the 79th minute, Ferguson slotting him through. A good first touch from Cosgrove got him into the box, Kelly just saving his low shot with an outstretched leg. Wright was then replaced by Connor McLennan. A double change for Motherwell followed, McGinley and Hastie joining the fray, Carroll and Cole making way.
Kennedy wasn’t far away from a goal in the 85th minute, a ferocious left foot shot from 20 yards forcing Kelly into another fine save up to his right. There was a triple change for Aberdeen in the 88th minute including a debut for Virtanen. He was joined by Leigh and Main as Kennedy, Cosgrove and Hayes made way. At the same time, Maguire was introduced in place of Crawford as a very satisfactory afternoon edged towards a close.
ABERDEEN: Lewis, Hoban, Taylor, Considine, Kennedy (Virtanen 88), Ojo (Campbell 72), Ferguson, Hayes (Leigh 88), Hedges, Wright (McLennan 80), Cosgrove (Main 88).
Subs not used: Woods, Logan, McGinn, Anderson.
GOAL: Hoban (15), Considine (77)
BOOKED: Wright, Ojo
MOTHERWELL: Kelly, O’Donnell, Mugabi, Gallagher, Carroll (McGinley 83), Campbell, Crawford (Maguire 88), Polworth, Seedorf (Long 46), Cole (Hastie 83), Watt (Smith 56).
Subs not used: Morrison, Lamie, MacIver, Johnston.
BOOKED: Gallagher, Polworth
SENT OFF: Polworth