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Aberdeen must keep up run, says Derek McInnes

By Ronnie Esplin

Published 14/09/2015

Battle is on: Aberdeen’s Graeme Shinnie (left) and Celtic’s Nir Bitton fight for possession
Battle is on: Aberdeen’s Graeme Shinnie (left) and Celtic’s Nir Bitton fight for possession

Boss Derek McInnes is looking for Aberdeen to take their winning tally to seven in a row when they take on Hamilton on Tuesday night.

The Dons went two points clear of Celtic at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership with a 2-1 win over the champions at Pittodrie on Saturday.

Defender Paul Quinn scored a dramatic 86th minute winner after Adam Rooney's penalty had levelled Hoops' striker Leigh Griffiths' first-half spot-kick and Jonny Hayes saw red for a challenge on Parkhead defender Mikael Lustig.

The Granite City men set a club record of six successive league wins at the start of the season and could go five points clear in their home game in hand against Accies.

"That is an opportunity," said the Pittodrie boss.

"Saturday was an opportunity to get to the top of the table and beat Celtic and Tuesday is an opportunity to keep that run going and go seven games, hopefully, and that is what we intend to do.

"But it will take a similar level of determination and performance from us to get the job done against Hamilton.

"We are not going to be more determined against Celtic than we will be, hopefully, against Hamilton. People who follow us see the determination in us.

"When you play (and win) against a team of Celtic's quality - they are a good team who can hurt you with moments with quality - it is good for confidence and you see how the supporters reacted at the end.

"It was important the supporters saw their team hell-bent on making sure the game went our way.

"To do it in the manner which we did - probably a lot of people didn't think we were capable of that.

"Thankfully the staff here and players always felt it was a result we could get and a performance of which we were capable."

Worryingly for Celtic ahead of their Europa League group opener against Ajax in Amsterdam on Thursday, they were undone with another set-piece.

Niall McGinn's free-kick from wide on the left travelled all the way into the six-yard box before Quinn side-footed it past Celtic keeper Craig Gordon who had retreated to his line.

The Parkhead side were knocked out of the Champions League play-off by Malmo on a 4-3 aggregate with three of the Swedish club's goals coming from set-pieces.

Boss Ronny Deila acknowledged the problem, saying: "We have conceded a lot of goals in set-plays. It is something we have been working but we have to work more on it.

"We have to stop conceding goals in that way.

"It is very frustrating and very disappointing."

Deila's defence was without Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk, recently sold to Southampton.

His place was taken by Charlie Mulgrew while Tyler Blackett, on loan from Manchester United, made his debut at left-back but the match came too soon for fellow new recruit Jozo Simunovic, the Croatia under-21 defender who signed from Dinamo Zagreb for a reported fee of £5.5million.

The Norwegian said: "He (Simunovic) had only trained one-and-a-half days with the team so it was too early.

"He has to know the name of the players and get into things before he plays. He (Tyler) did ok. It was his first game but you can see he has quality and he will be an important player for us."

Belfast Telegraph

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