Date: 9th February 2016 at 11:44am
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Manager Derek McInnes was a delighted man at full time in the weekend’s game against St Johnstone as he saw Aberdeen put themselves joint top of the table.

With the much needed victory over Celtic in midweek followed by another three points, Aberdeen draw themselves level at the top of the Premiership tree and McInnes knew that it was a case of all credit to the players for achieving that with previous knocks coming their way.

Speaking to the Official Site in his post game press interviews following the four three victory, McInnes knew it was a hard earned three points with goals coming from a Rooney brace, and efforts by Pawlett and McGinn, a thrilled gaffer explained.

‘My concern going into the game was always the closing stages, the last 15-20 minutes of the match. The players exerted so much energy on Wednesday night. There is some much energy needed when you play Celtic and there was always a concern as we knew the pitch would be heavy. Also St Johnstone never know when they are beat. They always have a right go. So with all those factors the closing stages were a concern and we picked a team to start the game with that in mind. We wanted to get the freshness into the team and we wanted to come out of the traps flying. We wanted Andy Considine to be part of that and help freshen up the defence. Andy was just jumping in the warm up and when he has come down he has felt something. It was enough for us to be concerned about it. Thankfully we had Mark on the bench and big McKenna came down from the stand and he played his part.’

McInnes went on to say that he wanted ‘Peter and Cammy’ to come in with their energy as well and impose themselves on the game, and for him that was ‘exactly what happened’ so he couldn’t have been more delighted with them.

‘It was a brilliant start for us. I thought we were slick, we were quick and we showed good quality. Kenny MacLean was running the game, he was outstanding and we got the start that we wanted. We said at half time that more of the same was needed because St Johnstone would not let us have it our own way. We anticipated a reaction from them.’

Adding.

‘You could feel a goal coming. St Johnstone were applying pressure and getting the ball forward a bit quicker. We were giving them a bit of encouragement, more that we needed to because of some sloppy bits of play and the fact we were playing in the wrong areas. At 2-1 it was the biggest test for the team today. I thought the players came through that really well. My plan was always to put a couple of subs on after 60 minutes and then keep one back in case we needed it later. We were hoping to keep our 2-0 lead but they scored before then. We responded by getting another two goals, firstly through McGinn and Church applying pressure up the top end of the pitch. Niall was desperate to get on to play his part and thankfully he brought quality to help us win the game. Rooney’s goal, I have never seen him running that far never mind being able to do that! He deserves so much credit. You then think that four should be enough and thankfully it was.’

With them getting the third goal, the gaffer knew the scoreline looked a little bit tighter than the match actually was and whilst he couldn’t really say we saw the game out comfortably, he didn’t believe anybody could argue we hadn’t done ‘enough to win the game’ because we got the tough test he was expecting ahead of the match.

‘The players deserve a lot of credit because big hearts were needed when a few of them were running on empty towards the end. Big hearts were needed to get the job done. There were a lot of different tests there today. There were tests on the younger lads like Cammy Smith to come into the side. Then Storie came on to help make us better, he helped us solidify the midfield area. And then McKenna came on to help us over the line. St Johnstone applied pressure but we managed to see it out and we continue the run. That is now over three months unbeaten in the league. People keep saying can Aberdeen handle it and handle the big occasions but the players are doing it. They have done it for ages now. In two and a half years they have consistently won more games than not.’

Ending his interview he praised the players for consistently giving him their all during games, and he thanked the fans for being the lift they needed especially when games were coming to an end as we were seeing matches out in a manner he’d like.

‘There is no one at the club who is not giving me everything. The players have complete trust in myself and I have complete trust in them and I trust them to be as competitive as we can. We are on a brilliant unbeaten run in the league, it is the type of run we have had in the past over the past two and a half years and we want to continue it. Obviously at this stage of the season wins are vitally important and we want to keep winning because we are enjoying winning and enjoying the run that we are on. It was an important win because the script was written for some if we had not won. People would have said they can beat Celtic but can’t win the next one. Credit has to be given to the players because physically it was a big ask for them. It was a big ask to be competitive with one of the most competitive teams in the league on a heavy pitch after the energy that was exerted on Wednesday night. The players have shown quality but also bundles and bundles of fighting spirit. Sometime that is what is required to get a win.’

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