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Aberdeen winger Jonny Hayes hopes it is third time lucky against Rangers after two close calls

Jonny Hayes hopes the Dons can bounce back against Rangers.
Jonny Hayes hopes the Dons can bounce back against Rangers.

Aberdeen winger Jonny Hayes feels the Dons have been unlucky not to beat Rangers so far this season and hopes it is third time lucky when the sides meet at Ibrox this afternoon.

The Dons made the perfect start on their last trip to Govan in October when an early strike from Christian Ramirez and a diving header from captain Scott Brown put them 2-0 up inside 16 minutes.

Rangers reduced the deficit four minutes later through Alfredo Morelos before salvaging a point through a controversial late penalty from James Tavernier.

The Dons also felt they should have taken maximum points when the sides met in January in the first match back after the winter break.

A Lewis Ferguson penalty cancelled out Ianis Hagi’s opener before Ryan Kent was sent off late on.

The Dons pushed for a winner but the Gers held on for a point which ended their nine-game winning run.

Jonny Hayes has been impressed with new Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin. 

Hayes hopes the Dons can deliver another strong display against Rangers today and believes the fixture brings out the best in his team.

He said: “We’ve had things go against us in both games.

“Of course we were unlucky we didn’t take three points from both games. Rangers will probably feel the same.

“But the fact of the matter is, we didn’t win either and we need to start putting more points on the board sooner rather than later. Ideally, starting at Ibrox.

“I can’t speak for the rest of the boys but I’ve always enjoyed playing in big games. The bigger the game, the more enjoyment. Whether that be semi-finals and finals, big matches at Tynecastle, Celtic Park, Pittodrie or Ibrox.

“For me, personally, the bigger the occasion the more enjoyment you get out of it. I can’t speak for other players but going down to play in front of a big crowd should lift the players.”

Hayes has been impressed with new manager Jim Goodwin – although he is no stranger to the former St Mirren boss having lived close to him during his time at Celtic.

He said: “Myself and the gaffer have known each other for a long time.

“We did not live too far from each other down the road.

“Jim lived around Kirkintilloch way and I was in Torrance, just five minutes away.

“So it was supermarket chats more often than not. I have played against him plenty of times – he has kicked me around the pitch!

“I have known his ideas about how he wants his teams to play for a long time and we’ve kept in touch.

“He has always come across really well to me and he spoke about how he wants to change a few things but it is difficult to come in and change everything when you only have a certain amount of players to work with and a certain amount of time.

“There will probably be a bit of give and take on the manager’s part in terms of working with what he has and putting his own ideas across.”

Hayes, in his second spell with the Dons, is reaching the end of his current deal.

The 34-year-old says there have been no fresh discussions on an extension but his focus is on helping the Dons back up the table.

He said: “To be honest that’s probably more down to me.

“I have not got round to it.

“I am just trying to concentrate on playing football and that’s it.

“I have lived long enough to know that when results are not going the right way you can’t think about anything other than football.

“And for me I take it a bit personally where we are in the league and the onus is on the players as a group to push up the table. I’d rather get a couple of wins on the board before I think about anything else.”

Jonny Hayes was disappointed with the Hearts performance.

Hayes wants to see a positive response from the Dons at Ibrox following a below-par display in the midweek defeat at Tynecastle.

He said: “He (Jim Goodwin) had every right to be disappointed about Wednesday.

“We weren’t good enough all over the park.

“A variety of things went wrong. It was all our own doing. It wasn’t for a lack of effort, we just couldn’t seem to string two passes together.

“Hearts were good, deserved their win and deserved to win by more than two if I’m being honest. It was a reminder of how standards need to be set in terms of performances.

“You don’t get too many results if you’re not performing and if we perform like we did on Wednesday night, we know we’re not going to win too many games.”

Hayes went off injured during the defeat against the Jambos but has recovered in time to face Rangers.

He said: “I am fine now.

“The doctor was brilliant and the physios – they showed me it was more my back and neck rather than my head, which I think is a good thing!

“It is fine. It was a bit sore for a couple of days but it was recovery on Thursday and I trained fine on Friday.”

 

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