WIN TAKES ITS TOLL

Mcinnes blasts ‘un­fair’ De­cem­ber sched­ule as Dons in­juries mount

Evening Express (City Final) - - Front Page - BY SEAN WAL­LACE CHIEF FOOT­BALL WRITER

BOSS Derek Mcinnes to­day blasted the Dons’ De­cem­ber sched­ule as “un­fair” and in­sists it took a toll with in­juries. Aberdeen beat Liv­ingston 2-1 to call time on a con­gested run of nine games packed into just 27 days. Mcinnes hailed his play­ers for com­ing through that run to sit just three points off the top of the Premier­ship. It came at a price as Mcinnes reck­ons the packed card has lent to in­juries to Shay Lo­gan, Bruce An­der­son, Niall Mcginn and Max Lowe. Right-back Lo­gan suf­fered a ham­string in­jury at Livi and striker An­der­son tore a calf mus­cle that will rule him out for two months. Mcginn and Lowe suf­fered groin in­juries in re­cent games and Mcinnes reck­ons all four in­juries are due to fa­tigue from the sched­ule. Mcinnes said much had been made about the Old Firm’s sched­ule – but in­sists it was tougher for his smaller squad, which was stretched to break­ing point. He said: “I had been con­cerned about the nine games in De­cem­ber.

“We had a cup fi­nal and then eight league games in 24 days. “It is re­ally un­fair on every­body at the club. “Ev­ery­one is talk­ing about how Celtic and Rangers’ squads have been stretched re­cently in the month of De­cem­ber. “Rangers had eight games and Celtic nine games. “How­ever, we have had nine games and had to try to deal with that when we don’t have the num­bers that Celtic and Rangers have. “I do think the sched­ul­ing was pretty harsh on us to be hon­est. “They (the SPFL) could eas­ily have pushed one of those games back to Jan­uary.” Aberdeen had reached an in­for­mal agree­ment with Dundee to play their game in hand af­ter the Jan­uary win­ter break. How­ever, the SPFL re­jected that re­quest and forced the Dons to face the Dark Blues in De­cem­ber – a mid­week game they won 5-1. Mcinnes reck­ons pack­ing nine matches into less than a month has taken its toll. As well as the in­juries suf­fered by Lo­gan and An­der­son at Livi this week­end, Mcginn sus­tained a groin in­jury in the 4-3 loss to Celtic on Box­ing Day. Mcginn is ex­pected to be fit for the Dons’ warm weather train­ing camp in Dubai which starts on Jan­uary 8. On loan Derby left-back Lowe pulled up with a groin in­jury in the 2-0 de­feat of Hearts. Lowe missed the games against Celtic and Livi and has now re­turned to his par­ent club as his loan deal has ex­pired. Mcinnes said: “That is in­juries now to Lo­gan, Mcginn, An­der­son and Lowe and it is just down to the sched­ul­ing. That is all it is. “It is the fa­tigue and play­ers are more sus­cep­ti­ble to in­jures. “These in­juries are mus­cle in­juries and just a con­se­quence of the sched­ule we have had. This is the fall out from the sched­ul­ing, it is noth­ing more than that. “We put a lot into the game on Wednes­day against Celtic and we al­most got some sort of re­sult against them. Af­ter that I was de­lighted with the play­ers’ re­sponse against Liv­ingston. They had to pick them­selves up and saw the im­por­tance of three points.” Mcinnes has con­firmed An­der­son’s in­jury ab­sence could force him to move to sign a striker in the Jan­uary trans­fer win­dow which opens to­mor­row. He said: “Bruce tore his calf. “I think young Bruce now be­ing out for a cou­ple of months may force us to try to do some­thing in that area.” On loan Manch­ester United striker James Wil­son came off the bench at Liv­ingston to score the opener and set up the sec­ond. Mcinnes said: “Liv­ingston are a team who have been used to win­ning for a con­sid­er­able amount of time, es­pe­cially at home. “This sea­son good teams have rolled up there and came away with noth­ing or very lit­tle for their ef­forts. “My play­ers dug deep. Liv­ingston al­ways test your re­solve and de­ter­mi­na­tion to keep do­ing the dirty side of the game. “To match runs, win head­ers, stand up when they ap­ply pres­sure. “They have over­come teams when teams haven’t stood up to that de­ter­mi­na­tion. “We stood up to it and got our just re­wards and those mo­ments of qual­ity to sep­a­rate the teams.”

Bruce An­der­son is one of a num­ber of play­ers who have been in­jured re­cently

Man­ager Derek Mcinnes

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