McInnes hails ‘honest’ Aberdeen after battling win

Aberdeen's hard-fought win impressed Derek McInnes
Aberdeen's hard-fought win impressed Derek McInnes

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes praised the effort of his side after they overcame Hearts to strengthen their grip on second place in the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership.

Shay Logan’s first-half header and a soft second goal from Jonny Hayes on the hour secured the points and delayed Celtic’s coronation as champions until at least the end of the month.

And McInnes said: “I thought we were very good today. It was an excellent performance.

“We spoke before the game about our defensive third and the middle, and how we wanted to be really aggressive in our work and bring our quality, and we did that today.

“We wanted to get Hayes and (Niall) McGinn on the ball as much as possible in the wider areas, so we kept them stretched, and the quality of play was excellent given the difficult surface.

“Two-nil was a really pleasing result, but it could have been a lot more.

“What screams out about our team is the honesty of the team. They are relentless in their work, and while we can do some work on being more clinical or bringing a bit more quality, they physically cannot give me any more.”

Logan headed in McGinn’s cross in the 21st minute and Anastasios Avlonitis’ dreadful back-pass sent Hayes clear to make the game safe.

The one blot on the copybook was a late red card for substitute Jayden Stockley, and McInnes commented: “I haven’t seen it again, but a couple of the staff have.

“Jayden was initially being fouled (by Krystian Nowak) and I think in his frustration he swings his arm out. I think he’s trying to fob off the challenge rather than inflict any damage, but if the referee has seen any more than a slap in the face, a red card is correct.”

Hearts boss Ian Cathro decried individual errors, commenting: “I think ultimately what you’ve seen is a competitive game. Aberdeen have shown over the 90 minutes that they’re very consistent in their play, and inside the game it’s come down to small details.

“We had chances before the Aberdeen goal, and we looked strong on the counter-attack. We had few chances, but good chances.

“If we’re guilty of something, it’s maybe (a lack of) ruthlessness around both boxes. Sometimes these games fall on errors and I think that was the case today.”