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McInnes questions referee’s decision to award County a penalty in Aberdeen’s win

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes was far from convinced that referee Alan Newlands got it right when he awarded Ross County a penalty in his side’s 3-1 victory.

Newlands gave County a fifth-minute spot-kick for handball against Lewis Ferguson, which Josh Mullin converted, but the Dons stormed back.

He said: “I felt a bit bewildered at the start as there was no real claim from Ross County for a penalty.

“Lewis Ferguson has turned his back to protect his face and the ball hasn’t travelled any distance to make it a deliberate handball plus I’m not sure it was in the box either.

“But if you are going to fall behind the best time do it is in the first five minutes.”

Aberdeen hit back as Niall McGinn levelled five minutes later before Ryan Hedges and Andrew Considine struck in the second half.

“We had enough good play in the first half and it was a great free-kick from Niall McGinn,” McInnes said.

“We were the team asking more of the questions up to half-time but the introduction of Curtis Main at the start of the second half helped us.

“Ross County went 4-4-2 and I thought matching up and making sure our front two caused their centre-backs more problems was the way to go and we did that.

“Andy Considine’s goal was a fairer reflection on the game as I thought we were guilty of missing more opportunities.

“But I would have taken any win coming up here as we’ve had to bounce back from a few blows and we’ve done that by winning three games.

“We’ve done our bit after the defeat to Celtic and it’s pleasing to get nine points. The only negative was not getting a third clean sheet in a row.”

County have now not won in seven matches, leaving them sixth in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Boss Steven Ferguson said: “It sounds silly when you lose a game 3-1 at home, but we felt we had a decent game-plan.

“We tried to go with two wide players and two strikers and be compact and tight when out of possession and we always felt with those players we could pose a threat.

“But we feel we’re contributing to the goals we’re losing – and that’s the frustrating thing. But Aberdeen know how to win games and put you under pressure.

“That said, we didn’t feel we were going to lose goals in open play. We felt we were frustrating Aberdeen and offering something in attack.

“But the two free-kicks, we felt we played a part in the goals and also the third goal we were kicking ourselves.

“They were looking for a penalty, but we just need to clear our box and we had two opportunities to do that.

“So we need to eradicate that because you’re not going to get away with that in the Premiership.”