We must sign off in style

AFC: McInnes rallies Reds to make it nine points in a row be­fore break

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - SPORT - BY PAUL THIRD

Aberdeen man­ager Derek McInnes has chal­lenged his play­ers to build mo­men­tum head­ing into the in­ter­na­tional break.

The Dons be­gan the heal­ing process fol­low­ing their home loss to Celtic by tak­ing all three points at Hamil­ton on Wed­nes­day and with two games left be­fore the break next week­end – against Kilmarnock at Pit­to­drie to­day and then at Ross County – the Aberdeen man­ager wants to see his side put to­gether a win­ning run.

McInnes, pic­tured, said: “We are look­ing at the next two games and try­ing to put back-to-back wins to­gether as that’s ex­actly what we need at the minute; a wee bit of mo­men­tum.

“It was a great re­sponse from the play­ers at Hamil­ton in what was an as­sured per­for­mance and the mar­gin of vic­tory should have been greater given the per­for­mance but the three points were the most im­por­tant thing at what can be a dif­fi­cult venue.”

Kilmarnock visit Pit­to­drie hav­ing re­lin­quished third place in the Premier­ship to Mother­well fol­low­ing their 2-1 de­feat at Fir Park in mid­week.

McInnes has been im­pressed by Kil­lie’s re­ac­tion to their shock Europa League exit to Welsh club Con­nah’s Quay No­mads in the first qual­i­fy­ing round in July and be­lieves new man­ager An­gelo Alessio de­serves credit for steady­ing the ship fol­low­ing the night­mare start to his ten­ure. He said: “I know the Con­nah’s Quay re­sult put ev­ery­one at the club un­der pres­sure but Alessio has qui­etly gone about his busi­ness and the play­ers have car­ried on from last sea­son, which says a lot about them. “The new man­ager has mir­rored

Steve Clarke’s style and they are dif­fi­cult to breach and score against.

“They had only con­ceded four goals in seven games be­fore the Mother­well game which is very im­pres­sive.

“Steve’s team liked to de­fend deep and bring teams on to them so they could counter-at­tack. Their play­ers knew the sys­tem well and there has been a con­tin­u­a­tion of that.

“We played there ear­lier in the sea­son and it was a for­get­table 0-0 game. We had loads of pos­ses­sion but didn’t do enough with it. Kilmarnock were well drilled that day and we didn’t cause them too many prob­lems but like­wise there wasn’t a lot go­ing in our box.

“We want to make sure, be­ing at home where the onus is on us, that we make sure it is a dif­fer­ent out­come this time.

Craig Bryson will re­ceive a late fit­ness test af­ter jar­ring his an­kle at Hamil­ton, while Ash Taylor is back in full train­ing fol­low­ing his ham­string strain.

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