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Member Since 31 Jan 2011
OFFLINE Last Active Apr 22 2019 07:32 PM

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Derek Mcinnes Left Needing Celtic Favour If Aberdeen Are To Qualify For Europe

Today, 05:00 AM

Derek McInnes is left hoping for a favour from Celtic to ensure his proud record of qualifying for Europe with Aberdeen continues.

For five seasons in a row, the Dons have qualified for the Europa League, which started following the end of McInnes’ first full season in charge at Pittodrie.

Despite their 2-1 win over Hibernian on Sunday, it was not enough to extend that run as Kilmarnock beat Rangers 2-1 to secure third spot. Aberdeen are now waiting on the outcome of the Scottish Cup final, with a Celtic victory enough to put the Dons back into Europe again.

McInnes said: “My first game at Aberdeen was a 0-0 at Easter Road in front of about 6,500 fans. Hibs in the bottom six, Aberdeen in the bottom six, nil-nil and it was torture. It was brutal. There was nothing on it. We were just playing out a season for the sake of doing it.

McInnes has taken Aberdeen into Europe in the last five seasons.

“Yesterday we were still going to the wire, there was still something on the game. So we’re disappointed not to get to 70 points, which I feel is what guarantees you Europe. But in the cup competitions we’ve lost to Celtic in one final and Celtic again in a semi-final so nobody is dumping us out of cups that we shouldn’t be dealing with. We’ve worked really hard.

“Sometimes your reward comes from that European football and that gets you through the close season. I’ve just got to hope that, next weekend, Celtic do their job.”

McInnes pinpoints the three home games in February and March, against bottom-half sides Livingston, St Mirren and Hamilton, as pivotal to their hopes of automatic qualification slipping away.

He added: “Those three home games against Livingston, St Mirren and Hamilton when we only took two from nine, that creativity and the cheapness of losing poor goals has stopped us getting to our 70 points. If we had got to 70 points-plus, we’d have got our European spot and now we’re dependent on Celtic doing the job next week and getting into Europa that way.

McInnes with his departing captain Graeme Shinnie.

“Ultimately we have to congratulate Kilmarnock but I’m still proud of my players’ efforts throughout the season.”

The inability to break those teams down looks to have cost Aberdeen and the constant changing of the team – due to injuries and suspensions – has not helped matters.

McInnes said: “The creativity has been an issue, like I said. When teams come up to sit in against us, we were just a bit short of that spark. But our away from, like when the home team come on to us like Hibs did yesterday, has been brilliant. We’ve done well on the counter – and actually should have done better yesterday. So we’ve still shown that we’re a capable team.

“When I look at those first two games of the season, the tie against Burnley, I had everyone fit – and I thought we looked a proper team. I thought to myself: ‘This is the best squad I’ve had at Aberdeen.’ But, every time we went to pick a team, there were four or five of that squad out at any given time. There have been reasons for it, I’ll take responsibility for it.”

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Highlights: Hibernian 1-2 Aberdeen, Scottish Premiership

Yesterday, 11:01 PM

Aberdeen beat Hibernian in their final Scottish Premiership match of the season (UK users only).

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Derek Mcinnes: Aberdeen Boss Looks For Celtic Favour In Europa League Quest

Yesterday, 06:05 PM

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes is now banking on Celtic winning the Scottish Cup for a European place.

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Dons End Season With A Win – But It’S Not Enough To Secure Third

Yesterday, 03:54 PM

Aberdeen ended the season with a 2-1 win over Hibs at Easter Road, but it wasn't enough to guarantee European football for next season.

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James Wilson Gives Aberdeen Win Over Hibernian But Dons Miss Out On Automatic European Qualification

Yesterday, 03:52 PM

James Wilson’s winner was not enough to book Aberdeen a place in the Europa League despite their 2-1 win at Hibernian.

Wilson’s goal mid-way through the second half had looked to have put the Dons on course for their sixth straight season in the competition, with Rangers holding Kilmarnock at 1-1.

However, a late Eamonn Brophy penalty rendered Aberdeen’s result meaningless, with Derek McInnes’ side now awaiting the outcome of next weekend’s Scottish Cup final. Only a Celtic victory will see them compete in the Europa League qualifying rounds.

Marc McNulty had put Hibernian in front in the first half, before Sam Cosgrove levelled as half-time beckoned.

It also marked the final game in the Dons career of Graeme Shinnie, who heads for Derby County in the summer, while several other players may have also played their last minutes in a red shirt.

Joe Lewis missed out for Aberdeen with a knee injury, handing Tomas Cerny his first start for the Dons. Connor McLennan also returned to the team in place of Greg Stewart, while there was a place on the bench for Gary Mackay-Steven.

Cosgrove slashed horribly at an early opportunity in the box, sending it ballooning wide, as his counterpart McNulty was having slightly more success at the other end.

Darryl Horgan picked him out twice, with one near-post effort rolling wide and a second, in which McNulty had time to check back on to his right foot, went straight at Cerny.

It was McNulty who gave the home side the lead on 26 minutes, with the Dons failing to execute an offside trap and giving Fraser Murray the time to pick out the on-loan Reading striker. He held his nerve and beat Cerny from 10 yards.

Hibernian’s Marc McNulty scores to make it 1-0.

Murray was next to take aim and troubled Cerny with a curling strike from 20 yards, that went past the far post. Max Lowe then had to react acrobatically to hook clear a ball destined for McNulty, with Aberdeen struggling to contain a vibrant Hibernian performance.

Cosgrove dragged them level two minutes before the interval after an otherwise quiet first half, clearing the ball out from under his feet and dispatching it back across Ofir Marciano following McLennan’s cross.

The goal did little to revive Aberdeen’s performance and they were fortunate to stay level 11 minutes into the second half, with Murray heading straight at Cerny from David Gray’s cross.

Aberdeen’s Sam Cosgrove celebrates his equalising goal.

But again, when the run of play had been against them, the Dons struck. Cosgrove and substitute Stevie May combined well to play in an unmarked Wilson, who slotted home first-time for his first goal since December.

Chances were still coming at the other end, with Cerny gobbling up Gray’s shot at the second attempt when the Hibernian defender looked primed to score.

Mackay-Steven was given what may be a farewell appearance for the visiting side, replacing McLennan with 12 minutes to go and giving him a long-awaited return from injury.

Aberdeen’s Graeme Shinnie celebrates James Wilson’s goal to make it 2-1

Aberdeen looked to have done enough following Alfredo Morelos’ equaliser at Rugby Park, only for Eamonn Brophy’s late penalty to hand Kilmarnock third spot back for the final time.

Cosgrove missed from the spot in stoppage-time after Gray fouled Mackay-Steven, as Aberdeen’s league campaign drew to a close.

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