McInnes still search­ing

Premier­ship: Man­ager praises Saints’ spirit and to­geth­er­ness as he hones his Dons

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen) - - SPORT -

done when you’ve got good man­agers, good re­cruit­ment and mak­ing good de­ci­sions.

“St John­stone have got good play­ers and there’s a fa­mil­iar­ity about them. By and large you’d say that St John­stone have a team sim­i­lar to our­selves in the past with that fa­mil­iar­ity.

“It’s helped forge that spirit and that to­geth­er­ness, and forged an un­der­stand­ing. It’s some­thing that is very im­por­tant.

“They’ve got that and we’re try­ing to find that a wee bit at the minute and get­ting those ex­pe­ri­ences as a team, good and bad, to try to de­velop our­selves as a new team.”

McInnes con­cedes he is still search­ing for the best for­mula for his side but Scot­land have been dealt a blow ahead of next week’s World Cup dou­ble-header af­ter Celtic mid­field­ers Scott Brown and Stu­art Arm­strong were ruled out of the qual­i­fy­ing de­ciders.

Hoops man­ager Brendan Rodgers con­firmed yes­ter­day the pair would not re­cover in­sists his play­ers can be proud of their ef­forts so far.

He said: “Re­gard­less of the league ta­ble, for us it would be if we could win the game, it would be a very strong start to our league cam­paign.

“We’re three points ahead of where we were last year, we’ve scored more goals and con­ceded less and if we can re­in­force that from in­jury in time to face Slo­vakia and Slove­nia.

Brown limped off against An­der­lecht on Wed­nes­day with a tight ham­string, while Arm­strong sat out the Cham­pi­ons League game in Brus­sels. Rodgers said: “Scott has had a scan so he and Stu­art Arm­strong will not be good start with a win on Satur­day we’ll be pleased with our work.

“I’d like to try and be as set­tled as we can be be­cause I see the im­por­tance in that but ev­ery­one’s got an op­por­tu­nity to ce­ment that place.

“We’re lucky that we’ve got good play­ers at the club and I’m hope­ful that we can win on Satur­day, look back

lavail­able for a few weeks due to a slight strain of top of the ham­string and calf. It is un­for­tu­nate for both us and ob­vi­ously for Scot­land.”

Arm­strong, who was born in In­ver­ness and brought up in Aberdeen, was named among the sub­sti­tutes for Celtic’s 3-0 win against at the ini­tial start and be pleased with our league form.”

Ross County man­ager Owen Coyle is rel­ish­ing his re­turn to the dugout to­day when the Stag­gies make the Premier­ship trip to Kil­marnock.

For­mer Burnley and Bolton Wan­der­ers man­ager Coyle joined the Stag­gies on a two-year deal on Thurs- An­der­lecht and Rodgers re­vealed the 25-year-old pulled up be­fore the game. He said: “He ac­tu­ally did it in the warm-up and it was only mid­way through the half that one of the med­i­cal team had said that he had hurt it.

“He went out to warm up af­ter it had hap­pened but he day, re­plac­ing Jim McIntyre who was sacked ear­lier in the week.

Coyle has en­joyed a break from the game since leav­ing Black­burn Rovers in Fe­bru­ary but has craved a re­turn to man­age­ment and, hav­ing taken his first ses­sions with his new squad this week, he is ea­ger to re­turn to ac­tion in Ayr­shire to­day. still felt the pain there.

“He has played a lot of games and it has been the case of try­ing to man­age the squad, hence the rea­son why he wasn’t start­ing the game the other night. It is not so se­ri­ous but it is the tim­ing of it which is un­for­tu­nate for him, us and Scot­land.”

Coyle said: “There’s no point say­ing I’ll sit in the stand and watch the game. I’m here. Let’s get go­ing and try to turn those de­feats into vic­to­ries and kick on.”

County are tar­get­ing their first vic­tory since the open­ing day of the sea­son at Rugby Park and are only a point ahead of their op­po­nents who are bot­tom of the ta­ble.

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