Aberdeen may struggle to slow Celtic without Church or Rooney

Aberdeen's Adam Rooney. Picture: SNS Group
Aberdeen's Adam Rooney. Picture: SNS Group
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Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes faces a shortage of strikers as his side travel to Parkhead on Sunday, with ambitions of further delaying confirmation of Celtic’s fifth consecutive Ladbrokes Premiership title.

The Glasgow club can only be caught now with a freak series of results, but a win by the Dons at Celtic Park would keep the champagne on ice.

However, McInnes fears he will be without Simon Church and Adam Rooney, pictured, after both were forced off in the crushing defeat of Motherwell. Rooney had earlier come from the bench to make his return from a thigh injury – and found the back of the net on his 100th Dons appearance.

McInnes said: “It’s typical of the guy. To score on his 100th appearance is appropriate, and I’d rather focus on that than him having to come off again.

“He felt his thigh tighten up, so hopefully we got him off in time. If we have to rest him between now and the end of the season to make sure he’s fit for the European qualifiers, then that’s what we’ll do.

“It’s important, with the injury to Simon Church, that we don’t make a bad decision on Adam.

“Hopefully it’s nothing too serious for either boy, but I’d have to say they’ll be doubtful now for the rest of the season.”

The rout started as early as the sixth minute for the Dons, as Kenny McLean converted a penalty won by Jonny Hayes, with further strikes by Niall McGinn, Rooney, and Hayes himself countered only by an Ash Taylor own goal.

Motherwell boss Mark McGhee admits his side were off the boil, and feels it is symptomatic of the run that secured them a top-six finish.

“We didn’t come here today having mentally shut off,” he commented. “I think we came here physically starting to feel it. The lads have put in such a shift to get to where they are.

“Every game recently, they’ve been flat out trying to get a result. We’ve not had any game where we’ve coasted to a result, and I think they’re starting to tire both physically and mentally.

“Next week we’ve got to make sure we regroup and recover to give it our best shot against St Johnstone.

“Facing St Johnstone at home is a different kettle of fish from Aberdeen away so we’ll give it our best.”