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SPFL | Aberdeen v Hearts | Preview

August 12, 2016 2:36 pm Author: Aberdeen FC

Derek McInnes

“We are very grateful to be back at Pittodrie and are looking forward to playing at home.

“We knew the schedule. There has been a lot of travelling for the players which I have spoken about. As I have said before we are only training the players that need training. Once 3.00pm comes tomorrow, running out there to a big crowd, the first home league game of the season, I think the adrenaline and fitness levels will be absolutely fine for the game.

“Most of the boys are experienced when it comes to playing a lot of games in a short space of time and they know how to deal with the situation.  

“Each game has been a challenge. Whether it be playing with ten men in the heat, playing against tough opponents (St Johnstone) or playing in tough conditions at Ayr. We are therefore just pleased to be at home.

“The game itself will be fine. The level of the game means the players will be up for it and they are looking forward to the game.

“We got a point on the road last week but now we want our first win. You want to win your home games regardless of who the opponent is. Tomorrow is no different. We will set out to try and win the game and we will be as positive as we can. I think it is a good game for us.

“The focus is now on the league. The League Cup can wait a few weeks. We want to get our league form going and get some wins on the board.

“Regardless of who our opponents are and regardless of whether they are in good form or poor form we have to try and look after ourselves. Hearts have shown that they are a good side over a couple of season and I expect them to show that again this season. They have too many good players for them not to have a good season. They have brought in a lot of experience in the last year or so, they have signed a number international players – to add to an already good squad. I have no doubt Hearts will have a lot of better days ahead of them. We found them a tough opponent last season as did most teams. We have to make sure we are a tough opponent.  

“I am not overly concern that we are not converting enough of the chances we are creating but it is something we have discussed. To create so many opportunities the other night and to only convert two of them and not work the keeper enough was the only negative from the game, but it is a problem many teams have. Also the responsibility does not just lie with the centre forward. Everyone has a responsibility to be more positive in that final third.

“There were a lot of positives from Ayr particularly the performance of Wes Burns who was very good in the third and created a number of chances from his positive play.

“The first home league game is normally greatly anticipated. It can get diluted a little bit because we have had the European games but hopefully the fans will still turn out in good numbers. We are determined to get the three points for them and make it a good day for everyone connected to AFC.

“Team news; We have Peter Pawlett back after suspension, hopefully Ash Taylor will have recovered from illness. Jayden Stockley is a concern for tomorrow as he has a back/hamstring problem. We will not take any chances with him. And Jonny Hayes is still out.”

Adam Rooney

“I think it is a bit early in the season to say we are not scoring.  The manager has brought in a number of new players and there are different options. I think we are going to score a lot of goals throughout the year and if we continue to defend well then I think we should be in good shape.

“All the new boys have settled in quickly. It can take new faces time to settle and take a while for everyone to understanding each other’s games. But I think we have done ok so far and the understanding between players will only get better as the season goes on. The manager has a number of different options and will rotate different players in different positions throughout the season and we will all have to adapt to that.

“Aberdeen v Hearts are usually good games to be fair. We had a number of tough games against them last season and I am sure tomorrow will be no different. We are expecting a tough game but hopefully at home we can go and get the win.

“The crowds over the last couple of years seem to be improving all the time. You can see that with the number of away fans this week. We took close to 3,000 to Perth and 1,000 for a midweek cup game in Ayr. We really get the support of the fans here and hopefully we can repay them with three points.

“We were very strong at home last season. We did not lose many games apart from a couple at the end of the campaign. We want to try and improve on that. We want this place to be somewhere this team fear coming. Hopefully we can start another good run tomorrow.”

Shay Logan

“It has been a busy run of games but I am feeling good. It is more the travelling that gets tiring so it is nice to be at home. We now have two home games coming up and I think next month more of the games are at home than away so these things work out over the course of a season. The fixtures even themselves out.

“The last two games had been hard coming on the back of the Europe run. We probably made things more difficult for ourselves the other night as we had plenty of chances to kill the tie. But the important thing is that we are creating openings.

“We have put a lot of work into our defending on the training field and it is paying dividends. The communication between the players in good. Defending well is not just about the defenders. It is about the organisation of the whole team. Again it is something we have been working hard on.

“Joe Lewis has helped the defence. I know Joe from my time in England. I trained with him when I was younger and played against him a few times. He is quality. He has always been quality. He has helped the confidence within the defence. He is a good guy to have around off the field as well. We are glad to have him. It is always good to be playing with good players and he certainly is one of them.”  


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Stalemate at Pittodrie

August 13, 2016 6:46 pm Author: Aberdeen FC

match report

Derek McInnes made three changes to the team that beat Ayr United at Somerset Park on Wednesday night, Peter Pawlett, Ash Taylor and Jayden Stockley started in place of Andrew Considine, Kenny McLean and Adam Rooney. The manager was looking to rotate the squad after what had been a hectic schedule of summer football for the Dons, with four games played in nine days.

Aberdeen were the first to threaten in the match with Peter Pawlett closing down the ball to force a throw in. He got the ball back from the restart and put a brilliant ball into the box for the towering Jayden Stockley, but the striker couldn't get enough power behind his header.

The Dons played at a high tempo in the first 20 minutes and looked really good.

Pawlett looked like he had a point to prove and moments later he made a surging run at the Hearts defence. Peter used his pace to take the ball past the defence, managing to win a corner. Anthony O'Connor found himself unmarked after the delivery but was too far away from goal to trouble Hamilton in the Hearts goal.

Minutes later Niall McGinn used his trickery to skin Souttar, his shot was deflected out for a corner which came to nothing. After playing so many game in such a short space of time the Dons looked sharp and the pace of Burns, Pawlett and McGinn looked to be causing all sorts of problems in the Jam Tarts back line.

Wes Burns was another man looking to make an impact having been so unlucky not to get on the scoresheet in the midweek game against Ayr United. McGinn put a lovely ball into the box, and there was Burns who rose tallest hitting the crossbar with his header. Despite the referee blowing for a foul the Dons were edging closer to the first goal.

As for Hearts, they were happy to sit back and try and use the pace of Watt to hit on the break. The Edinburgh were slowly coming more into the game.

Tempers appeared to be running high with the visitors racking up the bookings. Tony Watt got himself into Kevin Clancy's book for persistent fouling and he was joined by Faycal Rherras who kicked the ball away in frustration after giving away a free kick. Derek McInnes' half time team talk would have been “more of the same” for his players with key Hearts players having to play on the side of caution.

Hearts were shouting for a penalty after Sam Nicholson went down in the box claiming to have been tripped by Shay Logan. It looked a perfectly timed tackle. Referee Kevin Clancy was unmoved by the protests from the Hearts players and manager Robbie Neilson.

As the first half drew to a close Niall McGinn was given one final chance to open the scoring when his free kick from 30 yards out went over the bar.


Hearts made two changes at the start of the second half with Buaben and Rherras coming off for Kitchen and Smith. Immediately the Gorgie side looked to get themselves in front when Tony Watt was unlucky not to get a shot on target after being laid off in the box. The composed figure of Anthony O'Connor kept out the danger with a nice block and clearance. O’Connor was excellent throughout and was the pick of the Dons players this afternoon.

O'Connor had to be alert again minutes later when Tony Watt wriggled past Ash Taylor. The Irishman made yet another strong challenge to keep Joe Lewis from having to make a save. It was a brilliant tackle.

The Dons tried out a training ground free kick on 60 minutes when the ball was laid off for Shay Logan wide on the right hand side. His driven cross frustrating missed everybody with O’Connor coming in at the back post.
An hour into the match and it was Aberdeen's turn to make a double change. Kenny McLean and Adam Rooney came on for Wes Burns and Jayden Stockley. Both players had given good performances and the Red Army showed their appreciation. Both changes saw the strength and depth of Derek McInnes' squad as a both McLean and Rooney would cause new problems for Hearts.

The Dons knocked on the door once more when a breakaway move gave Shinnie the chance to cut the ball back from deep. His cross got stuck under the body of Rossi giving Hearts the chance to clear the ball.
The second half was a more even contest as the Dons could not keep the high tempo going.

After 70 minutes both teams made their final substitution. For Hearts, Sam Nicholson came off for Robbie Muirhead. For Aberdeen it was time for the introduction of Miles Storey who replaced Peter Pawlett. Both managers feeling the game was there to be won, with neither team fancying just the one point.

Both teams put themselves about as the game became stretched and as the tackles flew in. While the first half saw the Dons put some good crosses into the penalty box, there was a lack of quality with the deliveries in the second half as fatigue seemed to be a problem for the squad. While the Dons have had a promising start to the season they have not had much chance to catch their breath.

With five minutes to go it looked like the points would be heading back to Tynecastle when Tony Watt got hold of the ball in the box after being found by Sammon. The striker should good feet to create space for the shot and he had the whole goal in front of him. However he just couldn't get his body in the right position and as a result put the ball into the Merkland End. A let off for The Dons.

The full time whistle was met with a bit of frustration and Hearts will be the happier of the two teams having been under pressure for a lot of the game. However, the Dons can take plenty of positives away from the game such as another clean sheet and an excellent defensive display.




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