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Derek McInnes wants players to live up to billing as his best Aberdeen squad

Celtic v Aberdeen – William Hill Scottish Cup – Semi Final – Hampden Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes challenged his squad to live up to their billing after they battled against the elements to earn a 2-1 victory against 10-man St Johnstone.

In a match marred for long spells by the strong winds around Pittodrie, the Dons fell behind to a Liam Gordon header late in the first half but were level at the interval thanks to a controversial Sam Cosgrove penalty.

Ash Taylor netted what would prove to be Aberdeen’s winner before Saints striker Callum Hendry saw red in the closing stages for two bookable offences.

And McInnes laid down the gauntlet to his players by saying: “We’re halfway through the league now and with 38 points, we’re well on track to securing another European slot.

“We’ve still got it all to do. Anybody and everybody has told me this is the strongest squad we’ve had in my time here, but we’ve still got it all to prove.

“We’re being tested at the moment with injuries and suspensions but we’re still managing to dig out results and a result like today will do us no harm.

”We’re asking a lot of the players this month. They’ve got their reward today and hopefully we can get a similar outcome come the game against Livingston.”

Saints boss Callum Davidson has challenged his players to improve their discipline after being reduced to 10 men for the third consecutive game. Jason Kerr, Michael O’Halloran and now Hendry have been ordered off, the latter two after coming off the bench.

Davidson said: “They’re professional football players, so they have to be disciplined. You get bad decisions in games, so let me shout on the sidelines. The players affect the game on the pitch.

“I’m disappointed with Michael and now Callum. We’ve not got the biggest of squads and to lose two players – with Jason Kerr, that’s been three games now we’ve lost players – for me isn’t good enough.

“As a group, not just individuals, we need that professional discipline in games to see games out. Stay on the park and be effective that way.”