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Derek McInnes: Kilmarnock Preview

February 17, 2017 3:00 pm Author: Aberdeen FC

The manager met with the media on Friday and began by reflecting on Wednesday’s emphatic win over Motherwell

“Obviously the three points were the most important thing. We wanted to take full advantage of the game in hand as we said prior to the game. So to do it so convincingly and to have such a performance was really pleasing. I think there are different ways of winning games. Sometimes you don't play well, sometimes it's more of a struggle but I thought the other night everyone who watched us saw just how good we can be when everybody is playing at such a high level.  Motherwell are not always an easy team to play against, they always give you a challenge so I think that to score seven goals & to threaten to score so many more was a really pleasing night. But it is only the three points and now we move onto Kilmarnock with the same three points. Hopefully we can have something similar in terms of performance but again especially at this stage of the season we just want to go there and get a result. When you score seven goals and have such a level of performance it doesn't do any harm going into this one.

“When the games come thick and fast you don’t get time to dwell on it. You can take the positives from it, it's clear that the players who played the other night will be feeling good about themselves and it was a high level of performance. So again, hopefully mirroring the run that we are on at the minute we just try to take it on to the next game and it can't come quick enough when players are playing well and getting results. But just because we are playing well and because we have got a very good record against Kilmarnock, it doesn't give you any guarantees. There's always another challenge around the corner and a slap in the face is always just around the corner so we've got to make sure the focus is on this one.

“You find certain teams you have good records against and with Kilmarnock the stats back that up. We've got a good record against them and it's never been an issue playing on their surface either, we've actually produced a lot of good football and scored plenty of goals down there.

“Lee [Clark] prior to leaving, had left his mark on this squad of players at Kilmarnock and there's always a different challenge. They've picked a couple of decent results and I think they will be closer to the top six than the relegation spots this season with the players they have brought in. They carry a goal threat with the options they've got. We've got a tough game on our hands but equally with those stats and the way we are, we expect it be tough for them.

“It doesn't affect our approach but you just never know how that feels when a manager leaves. Lee [Clark] was a popular manager with the players and was a guy I personally liked as well and I'm sorry to see him leave Scottish Football. But like everything else it's an opportunity now whether Lee McCulloch wants the job or not. I think that Lee will just be trying to prepare the team as best he can as part of his role anyway as an assistant manager so you never know how teams are going to react. Again though my concentration is on us and it's what we do that we feel will win the game or not.

“We don't expect anything other than a difficult game but it's what we set out to do- to win all three points. We are on a good run and we want that to continue and to do that we are going to have to play well.

“With Graeme Shinnie being suspended the other night that was the first change we've had to make in about 9 games I think but even prior to the game there's been certain players making you really consider the team and that's the way it should be. It's pleasing for myself when I've got players who haven't been starting games still showing a fantastic attitude in their training, coming off the bench and having an impact on results as we've seen in recent weeks. Even the other night with Peter Pawlett coming on and scoring, that's been Jayden recently, it's been Anthony O'Connor coming on and playing a part and it's been Ryan Christie coming on and affecting the game, Miles Storey coming on and being a threat for us. I think 4,5,6 players behind the main team of late who have been asking the question and that for me is pleasing and we are going to need every one of them.

“Everyone is fit. A couple of knocks from the other night but nothing that we think we keep players out. Young Frank Ross picked up a knee injury in the testimonial game last night and probably won't travel.”

RedTV | Watch the manager's pre-match media conference in full | please click here



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February 19, 2017 6:26 pm Author: Aberdeen FC

The manager named the starting XI as Wednesday night so Graeme Shinnie, returning from suspension, was named on the bench and Frank Ross dropped out of the squad.

There had been a sprinkling of rain which helped slightly but the pitch still looked very dry.

In the opening minute a promising Aberdeen move broke down and at the other end Mark Reynolds was forced to give away a corner which the home side put straight out of play. With Sammon and Boyd up front for Killie they certain had some targets to aim for inside the area from set pieces.

The home side, who lost their manager during the week, were certainly well up for this and the Dons were getting no time on the ball. Kilmarnock were forcing Ash Taylor to play it long.

On 8 minutes Ajer headed a Considine cross clear. The ball fell for McLean and his right footed drive just went over the bar but Freddie Woodman in the Kilmarnock goal had it covered. Rory McKenzie then pulled a shot wide after finding some space inside the area. After 11 minutes the Dons did well to work the ball down the left. Hayes chipped it in for Jack and his cross found the head of Christie but he could not direct his header on target. Was a half chance.

On 12 minutes, Hayes, who had popped up on the right, showed some delightful skill to beat Greg Taylor. Jonny then put in a low cross which deflected into the path of McGinn who looked certain to score but Woodman made a very good save from point blank range.  It was a really good chance. A minute later Hayes put in a free kick which found Rooney unmarked at the back of the area. Adam had peeled away from his marker but his header back across was not strong enough.

A decent spell but after that lost their way a bit.

In the 22nd minute a slip at the back allowed Steven Smith and Boyd to play a one two but thankfully the return pass from Smith was just over hit and Lewis was able to gather. Ex Don Smith had a good game in the middle of the park this afternoon.

After a positive start the visitors then struggled to get any passing moves going and were careless in possession at times.  

On the half hour mark a deep Considine cross was knocked down by Logan for McGinn and his little chip could not quite find Rooney. Christie then almost found McGinn with a reverse pass before Rooney won the first

Aberdeen corner of the afternoon.

The corner was cleared but a minute later Christie had a shooting chance from the edge of the area which he put over and then thirty seconds later the same player put a header just wide. Although he was off target on both occasions it was encouraging to see how his movement had found space.

Then Ash Taylor went on a 40 yard run. The big centre half got himself into a decent shooting position but elected to try and play a through ball to Rooney which was just too strong. After his shot the other night he might have been better trying his luck!

In the 40th minute the home side took the lead. Slack play at the back allowed Greg Taylor time to put over a dangerous cross. Reynolds headed the ball up in the air which was picked up by Jordan Jones. He again had time and chose to play the ball back to the onrushing Rory McKenzie and his shot was deflected past Lewis into the net. Until that point Aberdeen had looked in no danger what so ever so they would have been disappointed to give away such a sloppy goal.

Aberdeen responded quickly and McGinn got a shot on target but he Woodman made an easy save. Kilmarnock had a late chance in the half when Andrew Dallas decided that Sammon was fouled. The ball in by McKenzie was over hit.  

HT. Kilmarnock 1 Aberdeen 0

At half time Mark Reynolds was replaced Graeme Shinnie. The Dons went to a back three; as they were still getting organised Sammon nipped in ahead of Logan and then went to ground when Taylor came over to retrieve the situation. There were strong appeals for a penalty but the referee had a look then waved play on.
Aberdeen then enjoyed a spell of possession but could not work any openings. Whether it was the surface to blame, but some of the passing was poor.

The game then started to get bit heated as challenges flew in. On 56 minutes Hayes was booked, probably more for dissent as opposed to a foul. Kilmarnock were growing in confidence and the crowd were also getting into it which was helping them.  

On 57 minutes McGinn beat his man over on the right but his cross was way too strong. The quality of the crosses up to this point had been poor. Christie then crossed for Jack but his header was always going over.

On the hour mark Longstaff got the better of Taylor in the air which gave Boyd a half chance. His first time hit fizzed just past the post. A lucky escape for the Dons. On 61 minutes Kenny McLean with only one boot on forced a good save from Woodman at his near post. Aberdeen then forced two corners which first McGinn and then Hayes delivered well but still they could not force an opening.

It was beginning to look like one of those days. The play was becoming frantic.

66 minutes in, McKenzie was booked as Hayes burst forward. Aberdeen were furious the ref never played an obvious advantage. From the free kick Considine and Sammon clashed heads and after treatment Andy had to go off for stiches. When down to ten men McKenzie missed a great chance to play in Boyd.

On 72 minutes Christie was replaced by Pawlett and Considine, who had not reappeared, by Stockley. Two minutes later Hayes wasted a free kick by blasting it over the bar. With 15 minutes to go McLean put Hayes in and his cross caused problems. McGinn had a shot blocked before Stockely appeared to be bundled off the ball inside the six yard box. The from a corner Stockley cleared had his shirt pulled and was pushed off the ball as he went for a header – so much so that his shirt was ripped! Again the referee waved play on.

As the game wore on it was not looking good. Although they had a lot of attacking players on Aberdeen were struggling to get any possession in the final third. At no time did they get any control in the middle of the park.

In the 82 minute Ryan Jack played a ball in from deep looking for Stockley. He won the ball in the air and as Rooney fought for the ball with Miles Addison there was some hesitation from the Kilmarnock substitute which allowed Stockley to nip and lift the ball over Woodman. The Dons were suddenly right back in it. The determination of Stockley had created the goal.  

The game was still very open as the Dons had so many attacking players on the field. Ryan Jack had by now gone to centre half.

On 87 minutes the ball again was floated by McGinn into the area looking for Stockley. The ball broke off Addison and rolled across for Pawlett. Peter hammered in a shot which took a deflection off the unfortunate Addison and looped into the corner of the net. Incredibly Aberdeen had turned it around.

The Dons had a problem when trying to see the game out as they had so many attacking players on the field and no substitutions left. A dangerous free kick caused problems which Addison almost got on the end of.  Replays show the Ayrshire side had a strong shout for a penalty. After that though Ash Taylor was immense at the back and won about ten headers during the four minutes of injury time.

Aberdeen showed tremendous spirit, character and belief to win the three points in a game when once again the players off the bench made the difference.


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