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Derek McInnes | Rangers Post Match

May 9, 2018 1:56 am Author: AFC Media Team

“Firstly, I’m absolutely delighted with the performance of my team tonight in the first half especially.

“I thought we were fantastic and knocked Rangers out their stride and played with thought, energy and deservedly got the goal. For me it’s a penalty no matter what anybody says. We were very good and I thought Rangers were losing their shape and their discipline and half time came at a good time for them.

“We couldn’t have been any better in that first half. I thought we were full of running, confidence and attitude and the crowd fed off that. We mentioned at half time how I was really enjoying the game, but we also mentioned how there’s still good players in that Rangers dressing room and no two halves are ever the same.

“It was important we had to impose ourselves on the second half as well and at the start of the half we were absolutely fine. I think a combination of McLean feeling his calf and he was struggling at one point, but he was having such a good game I was so reluctant to do that (sub him). It was a combination of that and Dominic in the middle of the park. He’s not had a lot of games and I thought the energy went out of us a little bit and the game got a wee bit stretched. Then Goss came on and he started to get his head up and we couldn’t quite get the pressure on the ball. The space was there for Murphy and I thought it was a good decision by Jimmy to put Murphy in the “ten” position.

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes on the touchline.

“I thought a combination of those players helped change the game and I thought for the last 20 minutes the better players were wearing Rangers jerseys, but I thought we were the better team in the first half. We maybe run out of steam in the middle of the park and two or three players stepped it up, so I couldn’t sit here and not say Rangers deserved the point.

“We needed to defend their goal better. We defended throw ins really well in the game and I thought, whether it’s tired minds or legs we allowed the ball to come in. We gamble on the throw in on the far side with Morelos and we come out and it’s an untidy, scrappy goal and that’s why we’re disappointed. Once we get that lead and have something to hold on to, we should have defended our goal better, but I thought Rangers deserved their point.

“I think we’re in good form. I thought the performance was good tonight. Even going into the split, we were in good league form and had won five and lost one. Then we won our first two games, draw with a very good Hibs team and we drawn tonight.

“Like tonight we had to show more than ever that we could lay a glove on Rangers and I thought we did that. I thought we were very good for long spells in the game and we could get something from it. Now we’re going to have to do something similar on Sunday.

“We’ve not managed to get anything from Celtic either and we’re going to have to bring a level of performance that allows us to get something on Sunday to have a fighting chance to get second.

“That’s us broke 70 points again for the fourth year in a row, which is really pleasing.

“I think if we’d said after that Scottish Cup Final, when we lost half the team and everybody was saying it’s an end of an era and Aberdeen would get pushed aside, to be going into the last game of the season second in the league we’d have grabbed that.

“That’s where we are.

“I’m gutted for my players because they put so much into it. They should have been getting all the plaudits for that first half performance and we only get our point, but it may be a very important point. We’re still ahead of the other two so they’ve still got their points to go and earn.

“It was Kenny’s last game at Pittodrie and he was even more motivated to go out on a high. He’s disappointed obviously. Hopefully Kenny will be ok for Sunday as he took a sore one tonight. McKenna and Christie can’t play on Sunday. When McLean is in my team he has such a big influence and his strike that hit the bar showed the confidence of where his game is at the minute. He’s going to be a very good Norwich player and hopefully he can be a very good Aberdeen player in his last game on Sunday.

“What Sam’s done is he’s come in and got himself fitter. He’s came from maybe a club where he wasn’t doing as much as he is now and he’s still young in years, but I think he has a physical presence and covers the ground well. We’ve not seen it yet, but he’s a good finisher and everything else has been there. I thought he was an absolute handful for Rangers tonight and it helped get us up the pitch and cause them problems. He’s done very well and he’s playing his part.”

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