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Derek McInnes proud as Aberdeen make winning return from coronavirus controversy

Rangers v Aberdeen – Ladbrokes Scottish Premieship – Ibrox Stadium
(Image credit: Robert Perry)

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes was proud of his players’ togetherness after they bounced back from their coronavirus shutdown with a 1-0 victory over St Johnstone.

The Dons were still without four of the eight players who were forced to self-isolate after an ill-judged night out sparked the postponement of three matches – and McInnes was missing all four of his strikers.

But Ryan Hedges came off the bench to net a deflected winner in the 82nd minute and help lift the squad after they found themselves under criticism for breaching Covid-19 safety guidelines.

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McInnes addressed his players together on the pitch after the rearranged McDiarmid Park encounter and then praised their collective efforts.

McInnes said: “We are in separate changing rooms, it’s three and four, and I just got the players together before the game and together on the pitch afterwards.

“I just wanted to remind them what they had just done in getting three points and how it’s been tough. Because it’s not been easy on anybody.

“Yes, we could have played better but it was everything else that got us the points.

“We showed a real work ethic and desire to work for a result and that was enough to get three points. In other games we will need to play better to get three points but that work ethic and togetherness was there in spades.

“And I couldn’t be any more proud of them. I know how much they wanted to respond and get a result, and getting three points was very significant.”

The game had looked to be drifting towards a goalless draw with little goalmouth action throughout before Hedges grabbed the late winner.

After his first home match in charge, Saints boss Callum Davidson said: “We worked extremely hard and limited Aberdeen to very few chances so I was really pleased with that aspect of our game.

“I thought at times, especially first half, we kept the ball well, moved it into good areas. Probably the only criticism I have is that little bit of quality in the final third. We got into good areas and failed to capitalise.

“You know the longer the game goes there’s only a goal in it and you could say it was fortunate with the deflection but we could have stopped it at source a little bit better.”