ABERDEEN’s Derek McInnes has praised Gary Mackay-Steven for striking the single blow to Hibs to keep the Dons within touching distance of leaders, Celtic, as the Dons ran out 1-0 winners.

Mackay-Steven, who signed from Celtic in the summer, has endured a difficult time since moving North with personal problems hindering him but he seems to have put these behind him as he moves to make his role at the club more influential.

The 27-year-old got on the end of Kenny McLean’s pass before putting it in the net.

“I’m really pleased for Gary on a personal level. He was playing because of how he trained this week. He has had one or two niggles and the international break came at a good time for him. I wanted a ball-carrier and more pace in the team for this game, and someone to carry that threat in wide areas.

“It’s been a bit stop-start for him. When we signed players in the summer we were picking up pieces, for a lot of the boys who had not played for a couple of years had got regimented into training-players and not really been important.

“Gary is one of them, Stevie May another, Greg Stewart. But they are worth persevering with. It pleases me that we have still been winning games and getting these boys up and running.

“Gary played with a freshness, an enthusiasm and energy. He was a constant threat from minute one. Yes, he tired, but he will feel better about himself coming off and playing a winning part for us.”

Aberdeen next face Celtic at Pittodrie on the 25th in a top of the table clash.


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