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Inverness CT v Aberdeen preview
“Playing on Friday and then Monday is difficult. As professionals we will deal with that, it is our job to do that. We do feel sorry for the supporters though. It is difficult for them travelling long distances during the week as well having to fork out money to get to these fixtures. But knowing our fans they will do as they have absolutely magnificent all season.
“We will have to use the squad again (with the two games back to back). We have a very good squad. I don’t think there was more of an example of this than the St Johnstone game when we made three changes, although it was only two of course when Andy got injured in the warm up. Cammy and Peter came into the starting XI and they were both excellent. Peter scored a goal and Cammy helped set up the first goal. It just shows you the strength of the squad we have got.
“It is also testament to all the boys. When they are asked to come into the side and produce a performance they always do. We have a superb group of players here and it is a joy working with them every day. There is a tremendous spirit at the moment.
“It will be a good game. It is always a good fixture going up to Inverness.
“Inverness are the only team we have not beaten this season. That is an extra motivating factor for the players. We are in very good form at the moment as we are unbeaten in 12 games now in the league. They are also in decent form, I think they have only lost one of their last six and have won three of them so we know how difficult a match it will be. We will have to make sure our preparations are right so we can bring a performance that is good enough to go and beat Inverness, as I say something we have not done this season.
“The players have answered all the so called tests that have been put in their way. We only focus on our next game which is the most important one and then we will prepare for the Partick game.
“There has been enough said about the Greg Tansey situation. We have now moved on from it. We are just focussing on going up and playing a good Inverness team, a team that he is part of.
“Team news, the game might have come a bit early for Andy to make it but he is certainly making a recovery and the injury is not as bad as we first thought. He is making good progress with the physios. Willo is back training today and Ryan will train at the weekend which is very encouraging.
“Daniel Adejo is still with us. He was a player that was recommended to us. We looked at an area that we could possibly strengthen and his name came up. He played in a development league game on Tuesday and done well. There is another game tomorrow so we will monitor that match and then make a decision after tomorrow.”
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Unlucky 13 for the Dons
It was unlucky 13 for Aberdeen as their unbeaten run of 12 games came to a crashing halt in the Highlands against an Inverness side who have now taken seven points off the Dons this season. It was a deserved win for John Hughes' side.
Adam Rooney got the Dons off to the perfect start when he finished off a great run by Storie. The visitors were looking in control and comfortable but a mistake by Taylor allowed Vigurs to equalise. At the start of the second half there was a huge moment of controversy when referee Collum awarded a penalty against Taylor for a challenge on Draper even though there appeared to be little contact. Tansey scored the spot kick and there was more controversy when Tremarco headed home a third at the back post. Despite the assistant referee having his flag raised the goal correctly stood. Aberdeen tried to get back into the game but never really looked like scoring. However their cause was not helped when the referee decided against giving penalties after two fouls inside the area on Shinnie and then Taylor. A bad night was made worse when Jonny Hayes limped off with a hamstring injury.
The Dons have three days to try and lift themselves before the visit to Firhill on Friday night.
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Derek McInnes made two changes to his Aberdeen side for this Monday night clash at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium. Niall McGinn reclaimed his place in the starting line-up at the expense of Peter Pawlett. Craig Storie also returned to the starting line-up with Andrew Considine dropping to the bench.
The home side headed into the match fresh from recording victory over Motherwell at Fir Park in the Scottish Cup and had not suffered a home defeat since the visit of Celtic in November. The previous encounters between the sides also suggested that this would be a tough match for The Dons as they looked to extend their unbeaten run in the league to 13 matches with victory.
Scott Brown was called into action early, first to react quickly to a corner at his near post and then to punch a free-kick from Tansey clear whilst being put under pressure. Up the other end McGinn set Shinnie through on the left wing, the full-back cut inside and hit a powerful shot towards goal. Fon Williams only just did enough to tip the ball onto the bar but The Dons were bizarrely denied a corner as Willie Collum awarded a goal-kick.
The Dons were not to be denied for long though as after just seven minutes the Dons took the lead.
Craig Storie produced a superb energetic run with the ball from midfield before playing a perfectly weighted ball into the path of Adam Rooney. The striker still had a defender to beat along with the keeper but managed to fire Aberdeen into the lead with a powerful strike into the corner of the net. The ball appeared to take a slight nick of defender Devine but the ball was going in away.
Storie may have been the unsung hero in recent matches but on this occasion he had set the game alight for all to see with great composure to match his undoubted energy.
After looking very comfortable the home side levelled the match with the next real attack of note when Vigurs dispossessed Taylor in the box before slotting the ball past Brown from 12 yards. The Dons defender would have been disappointed to lose the ball when it looked as if the danger was over. Credit to Vigurs though as he was alert to the situation and kept his cool to finish well.
The first card of the match went to Tremarco for a late challenge on Hayes just outside the area. McGinn stepped up to take the kick but his effort didn’t have enough time to swerve back inside the post.
The home side could have taken the lead in the 25th minute when a corner was whipped into the area. The ball bounced in the six yard box before skipping just over the head of Tremarco at the back post. It was a let off for The Dons and sparked some discussion amongst the defence.
Aberdeen were dealt a blow before the half hour mark when Jonny Hayes had to leave the field due to injury. He was replaced by Pawlett with no apparent change to the system. He would be tasked with providing support to Church and Rooney along with McGinn.
Just under 10 minutes of the first half remained when the hosts won a free-kick 35 yards from goal. Tansey opted to strike the ball towards goal but it curled wide of the post. As the match approached half-time chances were scarce for both sides. Adam Rooney had little to work with and had to improvise to direct an overhead kick from Shay Logan’s cross towards goal. Unfortunately the ball sailed comfortable wide of the post.
Up the other end Storey had a couple of runs at Logan but the full-back was proving to be well matched. Logan carried an attacking threat at the other end and after receiving a pass from Pawlett his cross was headed towards goal by Church. A corner was all that the attack would achieve as an Inverness head got between the ball and the goal.
From the corner Ash Taylor was booked for a deliberate handball when it looked as though he was being held by a defender.
After five minutes of the second half the home side were handed a penalty when Draper went down under the challenge of Taylor on the edge of the area. The defender’s foot was high and it was enough for the combative midfielder to go down. It was a soft penalty award at best and replays show there was no contact. Tansey stepped up to take the penalty and sent Brown the wrong way to fire his side in front.
The Dons were unjustly behind but would have to lift their performance levels now to take anything from the game. There was no immediate response as the referee took centre stage producing a number of decisions that infuriated both sets of supporters. Just after the hour mark The Dons did create an opportunity when Church knocked the ball down for Rooney in the box, he hooked the ball towards goal but it was straight at the keeper.
With 25 minutes of the match remaining Inverness took their chance to extend the lead. A ball into the box was flicked to the back post by a Dons defender and Tremarco was there at the back post to head the ball past Brown. The assistant referee had raised his flag. There was a delay in the goal being given but the referee overruled his assistant and it did eventually stand and Inverness were 3-1 ahead.
At this point Smith replaced Church. Shortly after that goal Mark Reynolds picked up a yellow card for taking issue with a robust challenge from Draper.
Shinnie attempted to grab the game by the scruff of the neck against his former club and made his way into the box after an industrious run. Just when the attack seemed to have finished he stuck his leg out to try and keep the move alive and was struck by an Inverness defender attempting to clear. Shinnie was the only man to protest but it was more of a penalty than the one that his side had given against them.
Time was running out for The Dons and they were struggling to create opportunities with less than ten minutes remaining. If anything at this stage it looked as though Caley would perhaps add to their lead as they looked dangerous on the counter. Shay Logan had to be on hand on two occasions to clear at the back post with Caley players waiting to capitalise.
As the board went up to show 3 minutes of added time the ball was nowhere near where it needed to be for The Dons as the home side managed the match well over the final stages.
Aberdeen should have at least had a chance to launch a grandstand finish when Ash Taylor was clearly hauled to the ground but the referee again waved play on.
The match was marred by some wrong decisions by the officials but The Dons will have been disappointed with their overall performance which brought an end to the unbeaten league run of twelve matches. Next up for Aberdeen, a trip to Firhill on Friday night and a chance to get back to winning ways.
crowd | 4.544 (Aberdeen fans 1,517)