ABERDEEN boss Derek McInnes welcomed back three key players in his side’s 2-0 win over Kilmarnock yesterday – a result that stalled Celtic’s title celebrations.
The Dons were without skipper Graeme Shinnie, defender Shay Logan and midfielder Kenny McLean in last week’s 3-0 Scottish Cup semi-final humbling from Motherwell at Hampden.
But the banned trio made their comeback at Rugby Park where McLean and Logan scored either side of half-time while Shinnie was named Man of the Match.
McInnes said: “There’s no doubting the influence of key players we didn’t have available last week.
“They had a big bearing – McLean’s quality for the first goal separated the teams and once we got a grip with Kilmarnock’s change of shape, we started to get a foothold in the game.
“I’m delighted for my players because we’ve all taken a bit of a kicking this week, so it’s great for them to get the reward of three points.
“The togetherness shown was great and it’s good for the supporters to come down and see a winning team again.
“It’s in our own hands to finish second, as it is for Rangers and Hibs, so we don’t look too far ahead.
“But I think there will be a few twists and turns yet in this top six with so many good teams involved.”
Killie gaffer Steve Clarke was in no mood to point the finger of blame at his goalkeeper Leo Fasan – who reacted slowly to McLean’s effort – as his side lost on league duty for the first time in 12 outings.
He said: “I’m not an expert on it. I’d need to see it again, to be honest.
“Having said that, Leo made an unbelievable save inside the first minute and then made a really good save before the second goal – but his defenders didn’t help him out with the second ball.
“He will probably be a bit disappointed with the first goal, but he shouldn’t be disappointed with his overall contribution.”
Elsewhere in the Premiership, Ross County dropped to the foot of the table following their goalless draw with Motherwell in Dingwall.
The Highlanders now trail by a point as Partick Thistle came back from a goal down to beat Hamilton Accies 2-1 at Firhill while Dundee overcame St Johnstone by the same scoreline at Dens Park.
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