Get back on goals trail: McInnes wants players back to ruthless best

Dons manager Derek McInnes

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes wants his players to return to their ruthless best against Kilmarnock after dropping points for the first time this season.

The Dons drew 0-0 in a compelling contest against Hearts at Murrayfield but missed out on the chance to return to the top of the Premiership.

It was the first time McInnes’ side had failed to score in a league match since losing 2-0 against St Johnstone at Pittodrie in April.

The Aberdeen manager, pictured below, whose side hosts Killie on Saturday, said: “We went to Murrayfield to win and we were disappointed we didn’t put in a complete 90-minute performance.

“But I have to praise the players for their defensive performance in the second half as well as recognise we have work to do to get better.

“Hopefully we can get back to winning ways this weekend.

“It has been a good start for us with four wins and a draw in the league.

“We are joint top so hopefully we can carry more of a threat against Kilmarnock.”

The Aberdeen manager praised midfielder Dominic Ball for an assured display on his Dons debut.

The 22-year-old, who joined the club on loan from Rotherham on transfer deadline day, was replaced by Mark Reynolds with 10 minutes remaining at Murrayfield.

The Englishman was not in the squad for any of Rotherham’s opening four matches in League One, but showed little sign of rust against the Jambos.

McInnes said: “I thought he did fine.

“He is clearly behind others in terms of match fitness, but we felt we needed his defensive edge and size to compete against Hearts.He can be pleased with his performance.

“We have a few players who have not been playing a lot of football over the last year and we are trying to get them up to speed through games and training.”

There was no doubting who the leading performer for Aberdeen at Murrayfield was. Goalkeeper Joe Lewis produced a stunning display to earn the Dons a share of the spoils, making a series of excellent saves and equally importantly providing a calm assurance to his team-mates.

McInnes added: “That was certainly his best game this season.

“He has that level of calmness and assurance that leading goalkeepers have.

“As Hearts were getting bigger as the game went on and we were getting smaller, he came and took a couple of crosses to relieve the pressure. His concentration is so good and he fills the goal brilliantly.”