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ABERDEEN LEAPFROG CHALLENGERS

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ABERDEEN leapfrogged Rangers and Hearts in the Premiership table with a 2-1 win over Partick Thistle at Firhill last night.

Following back-to-back defeats from Hamilton and leaders Celtic, the Dons returned to winning form at their happy hunting ground where they have won seven of their last eight games.

Anthony O’Connor scored his first goal for the Pittodrie side to hand them the advantage in Maryhill, but Adam Barton levelled just after the interval. Jayden Stockley got the winner with a stunning lob over Jags keeper Thorsten Stuckmann.

Derek McInnes’ side, runners-up to the Hoops in the past two campaigns, are now seven points behind Brendan Rodgers’ team who, of course, can extend that to 10 if they beat Inverness Caley Thistle at Parkhead this afternoon.

The Dons boss admitted: “I thought we deserved to take all three points, but I never felt totally comfortable and never felt the game was won.

“But, as an away team, I have to be pleased with the way we came here and imposed ourselves on the game. Thistle have been very good recently, their improvement is clear – this is going to be a tough place for teams to visit.

“To come and have the possession we had, our movement ahead of the ball, I thought we really dominated. I thought Thistle were struggling, but the only downside was we were looking to create more clear-cut opportunities.  

“I thought the response (to their goal) was immediate, though. It was a great move and great finish from Jayden. I thought it was no more than we deserved.

“We did not expect to get it all our own way, but I would have taken that performance and that result before the game without question.”

McInnes added: “I must give credit to Thistle as they never gave up and kept asking questions of us. We are annoyed with the goal we gave away because it was something we identified before the game, their threat from set-plays and Barton coming in late. That aside, I thought we defended very well.”

Thistle gaffer Alan Archibald said: “In terms of clear-cut chances, we deserved a point. It was bitterly disappointing to concede so soon after we scored.”

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