The Manager spoke to RedTV after the thrilling 3-2 victory over Hearts this afternoon at Pittodrie:
“I think it’s important that you get that first win as early as possible, after the demands and the exertions of Thursday we tried to freshen things up.
“I would have liked to have done that a bit more today, with only Scott and James coming in.
“We got off to a quick start and that’s what we asked for. You know when you come off the back of a European game it may have an effect in the latter stages so it was important we got off to a quick start but I am disappointed we didn’t capitalise a bit more.
“I thought we were good in the first 25/30 minutes and it became a bit stop-start after that, sometimes that can be the way against Hearts and there can be no real flow to the game with a lot of free-kick’s and stoppages.
“I thought we started the second half strongly with a bit more purpose about us but Hearts have go the quality on the bench, Craig makes a positive substitution with Naismith and Washington but we are disappointed with the nature of the goal.
“We know that Smith has got a long throw and I wanted my centre backs to be winning that header instead of Ojo trying to win that. It then ricochets and then Naismith gambles as he has done all his career and they equalise which gave them a huge lift.
“We were rocked and then they got the second goal, we were struggling to deal with their fresh legs at the top end of the pitch but thankfully even at 2-1 there was the resolve, the determination and the spirit of my team to find a way to get a result.
“McGinn and Hedges gave us real impetus and they had a huge part to play in both goals. My team would have been forgiven today, we always want to win but they would have been forgiven at 2-2 for settling at that after Thursday but they kept chipping away and thankfully the goal comes.
“And what a goal it was, Ryan has been threatening to do that and his finish was magnificent. It was no more than we deserved when you take everything into consideration, the injuries we have, the game on Thursday night and the fact that Hearts have had all week to prepare for the game. We have had literally 48 hours and the biggest part of that was keeping the team fresh.
“The crowd helped the team today, that was Pittodrie at it’s best. A real entertaining afternoon, we did it the hard way and you can see with the celebrations the way that the team are applauded off the pitch, how much that means to everyone.
“It was important to get the three points today because Hearts are a good team. When you take into account the preparation time they had, that was tough for us and it will be tough against St Mirren, against Rijeka and against Dundee. We could be doing with getting a few out of the treatment room and into the squad to help us with that.
“For now, I couldn’t be more pleased, it’s important to win your home games.
“Sam was up against three good centre halves and every one of them knew they were in a game today. There was grass to work in for the first goal and he took advantage of a bit of indecision but he was onto it in a flash, he was quick, purposeful and calm with his feet. He scores penalties the way that Rooney used to do, you never feel that Sam is going to miss and that’s fantastic for him.
“Even if he hadn’t scored I would have been delighted with his level of performance, he is a boy in a good place at the moment and he clearly loves playing here. Particularly at Pittodrie scoring goals.
“He wouldn’t have played today if Curtis was fit because I wanted to freshen the whole frontline up and I wanted to play Bryson but a little groin strain has curtailed that.
“It’s good that we have good options to come back, we are hoping that Devlin can maybe travel to Croatia but for now we will just enjoy today and get the boys rested down now over the next 48 hours.
“Funso has a bit of ice on his knee but I think he will be ok. For the players who have played both games it has been a big effort. Greg Leigh has hardly had a pre-season but for the winning goal he could have played a simple pass but he takes Walker on at the by-line and gets his cross in and then McGinn and Hedges quality shows.
“It’s a good win for us because Hearts are a good side and they have made some good signings, everyone will go home happy today.”