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Scott McKenna hopes Ibrox victory is catalyst for Dons to climb table

Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna.
Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna.

Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna hopes Wednesday’s impressive victory at Ibrox provides the platform for the winning run that can move the Dons near the top of the table.

There was no Betfred Cup final hangover for the Dons as Derek McInnes’ side bounced back from their Hampden heartache against Celtic by taking all three points against Rangers.

McKenna scored the only goal of the game with the result, made all the more impressive given his side played an hour with 10 men after Sam Cosgrove’s early dismissal, moving the Reds from seventh to sixth spot in the Scottish Premiership.

With seven league games still to be played this month, McKenna knows this would be the perfect time for the Dons to hit top form and close the gap on surprise leaders Kilmarnock.

Ahead of today’s meeting with St Johnstone at Pittodrie, the central defender said: “It was a really good team performance at Ibrox and even when we went down to 10 men I felt we were comfortable.

“Obviously we lost in the final but I thought we played well against Celtic and limited them to very few chances at Hampden.

“We took confidence from that going to Ibrox as we knew how big that was with the rivalry between the teams and got a massive result.

“Hopefully now we can kick on from there and we have a number of games at Pittodrie now so, with the crowd behind us, we will look to get a few wins to build momentum.

“We have got a couple of games in hand on a number of the sides above us and if we win them we can shoot up the league by the winter break.

“Teams like Hearts have put that kind of run together earlier in the season and the aim is to do that ourselves to give us the chance to catch up.

“We are due a run as I think our best is three wins in a row in the league before the last international break so hopefully we can pick that up again.

“Not that it will be easy as St Johnstone are playing really well right now and they have a real threat in Tony Watt up front.

“They are also doing well in keeping the ball out of their net with Zander Clark keeping a new clean sheet record for the club recently.

“Obviously it will be tough for us to break them down but we are going in with a lot of confidence looking for the three points.”

McKenna’s goal was his first for the Dons since his spectacular 35-yard strike against Kilmarnock in January.

The Dons have been struggling for goals this season but the defender believes the onus on finding the back of the net should be a collective effort, rather than the sole responsibility of the club’s strikers.

He added: “I don’t know where that came from but the manager has told me that I need to try to score more goals.

“Sam Cosgrove attacked the ball and it just ricocheted to me and I managed to get my leg to it before the Rangers defender got there.

“I didn’t know too much about it as the ball just flew into the net and I panicked as I didn’t know how to celebrate and just ran away.

“That needs a bit of work but it was just pleasing to score what turned out to be an important goal for the club.

“I’m sure when the strikers get one goal they will start coming thick and fast but if they’re not scoring right now it’s up to everyone else to contribute.

“The strikers are working hard and are bringing a good work ethic to the team but if they can’t get the ball in the net others have to take responsibility to help them.

“They help us out when we are defending by dropping in and working hard for us so if it is a set piece for a defender to score for the team then we need to do that.

“It’s about the team, not just about the strikers not scoring so as a collective we need to do better.

“You also need to take a pride in keeping a clean sheet which is why the defenders are on the pitch and if we score one goal that should be enough to win a game.”



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