Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes praised his team for showing “collective spirit” to win 1-0 at St Johnstone after a difficult couple of weeks for the club.
The Dons – playing just their second Premiership game after a high-profile breach of Covid protocol and general rise in cases in Aberdeen saw three matches pushed back – were nowhere near their best at McDiarmid Park for what was a rearranged fixture. However, they earned their first win of the season via substitute Ryan Hedges’ deflected late strike.
McInnes, who was missing all four senior strikers and three centre-backs for the game due to a combination of injuries and the lingering coronavirus rule breach fallout – gathered his team on the pitch at full-time to praise them for showing a spirit he felt was “there in spades”.
Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “It’s clear we need games and need to get sharper with our work.
“I felt throughout there was a doggedness about us and a real team spirit.
“We worked for the result, playing without a centre-forward. You can see that – players are looking up and there’s no real physical presence there to try and hit.”
The manager singled out the likes of sub Hedges, as well as signings Tommie Hoban and Ross McCrorie for their performances.
Defender Hoban has played very little football in the last couple of years due to a string of serious injuries, while McCrorie only joined from Rangers earlier in the week.
McInnes said: “It was a great goal from Hedges at a great time in the game.
“It gave us something to hang on to.
🏴 Our Welsh Wizard #StandFree
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) August 20, 2020
“Tommie Hoban’s not played for a year, but it was needs must with three centre-halfs out.
“McCrorie comes in after two days training and fitted in brilliantly.
“He’s a competitor, you saw that in the second half and he made a few great challenges for us.”
Aberdeen are next in action against Livingston at Pittodrie on Sunday.