McInnes dismisses shoot-out ‘lottery’ theory

Posted Wednesday, March 14, 2018 by PA

McInnes dismisses shoot-out ‘lottery’ theory

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes claimed he was always confident his players’ focus and technique would see them through a penalty shoot-out against Kilmarnock.

Goalkeeper Freddie Woodman saved three spot-kicks as the Dons prevailed 3-2 to set up a William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Motherwell.

The on-loan Newcastle player denied Eamonn Brophy, Greg Taylor and Greg Kiltie after a 1-1 draw and Niall McGinn could afford to hit the bar as Aberdeen clinched the contest with one penalty to spare.

Kenny McLean had earlier kept the Dons in the tie from the spot after Stephen O’Donnell had given Kilmarnock the lead six minutes into extra-time.

McInnes said: “I said to the players, don’t buy into this ‘penalty-kicks are a lottery’. It’s about concentration, technique, confidence, mentality.

“The good thing for me, when I went over I had a list of five I wanted to take them. I was confident all five would score.

“There were probably seven or eight of my players wanted to be in that first five. There was nobody moonwalking to the back of the line. Well, there was one, but I’ll not mention him.

“But it shows the mentality. I think the experience of the team showed in that period. I said to the players: ‘Our keeper will save a couple, just concentrate and commit to wherever you want to stick it’.

“We dealt with that situation better and that’s the only thing that separated a very tough tie.”

The Dons will have to do without Shay Logan, McLean and Graeme Shinnie in the semi-finals after all three picked up their second bookings of the tournament, but McInnes was too elated to dwell on that negative.

Kilmarnock thought they had won it in the second period of extra-time but Brophy’s header was ruled out for offside, a decision McInnes claimed was marginal but correct after watching footage.

The hosts were left to rue Kirk Broadfoot’s pull on Stevie May which led to the penalty. The Dons striker had his back to goal and the defender appeared to have the situation under control.

Manager Steve Clarke had no comment on either incident having not watched them back but he was frustrated at a tough run of fixtures they have had.

“I just felt towards the end we looked a little bit jaded, mentally and physically,” he said.

“We had six games in 18 days, it’s a big ask to play extra-time. That’s why I am proud of the players, I thought they were magnificent.

“Aberdeen in the same period of time played three games. Maybe towards the end that was just a crucial little factor in the outcome.

“So, thanks to the fixture panels and the Scottish league and the SFA, we have had a hell of a run of games.”


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