The Sunday Post (Dundee)
Aberdeen claim their vital first win
DEREK McINNES rang the changes as Aberdeen claimed their first Premiership win of the season.
And the Dons boss admitted it was a victory his side desperately needed ahead of next week’s huge clash with Celtic.
Niall McGinn and Miles Storey gave McInnes’ men a two-goal cushion going into the closing stages at Pittodrie, before Chris Erskine’s late consolation sparked panic in the Reds rear guard.
But the home side held firm to move into fourth place – and set up an earlyseason cracker at Celtic Park on Saturday.
Aberdeen gaffer McInnes is in no doubt of the size of the task that awaits his side.
But he insisted the Dons are looking to rob the champions of the “mojo” they have regained under Brendan Rodgers.
“It was important we won today because I watched the first hour of the Celtic game and they were terrific,” said McInnes.
“They have their mojo back, they are difficult to contain and have a lot of confidence.
“They look like they’ll take some stopping but that’s the challenge for us and every other team.
“There is a familiarity to the team, most of them were there last season, and they have a lot of confidence. Brendan has gone in, put his stamp on the team and they’re off to a flying start.
“But it’s only a start and it’s up to everyone else to make it as difficult as possible.”
There is an old adage that states: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
For McInnes, two consecutive Premiership stalemates was a conspicuous call to action.
The Dons’ attacking machine looked busted – and title challengers can’t afford to fire blanks.
Fortunately for the Reds’ Premiership hopes, the changes McInnes made in pursuit of his side’s first league goals of the season paid off.
The injured Ryan Jack, along with Ash Taylor, Wes Burns and Jayden Stockley were all dropped from the Dons starting XI against Thistle, with Andy
Considine, Kenny McLean, Miles Storey and top scorer Adam Rooney returning to action.
Storey notched his first Aberdeen goal to seal a deserved victory after Niall McGinn’s sensational free-kick opener.
Rooney, McLean and Considine all played their part too.
But while the Dons were well worth the points, there were signs that the defensive steel that deserted them towards the end of last season has not yet been re-forged.
Thistle, who opened their Premiership campaign with a 2-0 win over Inverness Caley Thistle, missed two golden chances, through Danny Devine and Ryan Edwards, with the game balanced at 0-0.
Then Ade Azeez missed another which would have squared the game.
A more ruthless – or perhaps less rusty – side would have taken them.
Instead, the Dons held firm, leaving Thistle, who went down to 10 men late on after Sean Welsh was sent off, to wonder what might have been – especially after late substitute Erskine’s stunning late strike.