ABERDEEN defender Mark Reynolds fears it is only a matter of time before Ryan Fraser sustains a serious injury.
St Mirren 1 - 4 Aberdeen
St Mirren - Thompson (88)
Aberdeen - Hayes (10), McGinn (45), Clark (86), Reynolds (87
The 18-year-old came in for more tough treatment as the Dons eased to a 4-1 victory at St Mirren on Saturday – moving them level on points with Celtic and Hibernian at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League table ahead of yesterday afternoon’s matches.
Johnny Hayes fired a low shot beyond Craig Samson to open the scoring after ten minutes, and St Mirren were punished for their inability to take their chances when Niall McGinn doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time as he ended a lightning-fast counter by slamming the ball high into the net.
Chris Clark drilled a low shot past Samson with four minutes remaining to put the game beyond Saints.
Reynolds added a fourth after a great solo run and deflected shot and Steven Thompson grabbed a consolation for the Buddies moments later, but it did little to ease the pain for the home supporters who have now seen their side slump to five successive SPL defeats.
“I don’t think it’s deliberate and guys are just going in looking to win the ball. Ryan’s that quick, though, that he’s getting caught late and it’s happening every week,” said Reynolds after Fraser limped off in the second half following a strong challenge by St Mirren’s Marc McAusland.
“One of these days he’s not going to be so lucky and get his foot off the ground. He could end up with a broken leg.
“It’s one of the benefits of youth that he’s never been hurt and probably feels immortal, but one of these days he’s not going to be so lucky and end up with a sore one.
“I don’t know what can be done to protect him. The referees are playing to the law and the guys going into the tackles are honest enough.”
Despite moving joint-top of the table – for a few hours at least – Dons manager Craig Brown played down his side’s title chances. “I have always underplayed my hand in any circumstances,” he said.
“There’s no way anyone other than Celtic will win the SPL, and it’s an opinion which I think can be substantiated when you see Celtic, with six first-team players missing, beating Barcelona.”
Danny Lennon admits his side are going through a tough time, but must demonstrate their strength of character. The Buddies have slipped to second bottom in the SPL and Lennon is under no illusions of the size of the task ahead.
“It’s been a difficult five weeks for us and we find ourselves where we are for whatever reason, but we’re there,” said Lennon. “What this now tests us for is to see the kind of characters we have and to bring that character out.
“I believe in my own character. I’m ready for the challenge that lies ahead. It’s going to be difficult.”