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Dominic Ball not losing hope that Aberdeen can pip Kilmarnock to European place

Aberdeen's Dom Ball berates the linesman.
Aberdeen's Dom Ball berates the linesman.

Aberdeen defender Dominic Ball is confident his side can pip Kilmarnock for third spot and ensure the Dons have European football to look forward to next term.

The Dons were beaten 3-0 at Pittodrie on Saturday as Celtic clinched the Scottish Premiership title for the eighth season in a row thanks to goals from Mikael Lustig, Jozo Simunovic and Odsonne Edouard.

Killie moved above the Dons on goal difference after defeating Hearts 1-0 at Tynecastle with two rounds of fixtures remaining.

Derek McInnes’s side welcome Hearts to Pittodrie on Friday night before ending the season away to Hibernian a week on Sunday, while Steve Clarke’s Killie end the campaign with home matches against Hibs and Rangers.

Ball said: “It was a great result beating Kilmarnock but we’ve not won in the last two games.
“If you compare that to last season we didn’t lose a game after the split and conceded only one goal. We’ve conceded five in the last two games.

“We have to put that behind us because the next two games will define if we’re in Europe or not. It has been our aim since the start of the season.”

McInnes was serving a touchline ban for making a gesture towards Celtic fans who were singing a sectarian song about him at last month’s Scottish Cup semi-final.

Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne (left) with manager Derek McInnes.

The same song, which referred to the Dons manager as a “sad orange b******” was heard again at Pittodrie on Saturday.

McInnes said: “Of course I heard it. I have been hearing it for years. It is not about if I hear it. The question should be are other people hearing it?

“The biggest surprise would have been if I hadn’t heard it. I think there has been a missed opportunity to send out the right message. I served my punishment today and I will be glad to get back out in the dugout next week.”

Defender Greg Halford, who came on a second half substitute for Shay Logan, is not expected to feature again this term after lasting only 11 minutes before limping off.
McInnes said: “I think he has torn his calf. That will be him for the season.”

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