Derek McInnes defends team as Aberdeen kept off top

Agony for Aberdeen players Cammy Smith, Graeme Shinnie and Adam Rooney as a chance goes abegging at Pittodrie last night. Picture: SNS

Agony for Aberdeen players Cammy Smith, Graeme Shinnie and Adam Rooney as a chance goes abegging at Pittodrie last night. Picture: SNS

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Derek McInnes was in defiant mood last night and insisted his Aberdeen players don’t deserve to be criticised for failing to knock Celtic off the top of the table for the second time in a week.

The Dons’ goalless draw at home to Partick Thistle leaves the defending champions as league leaders on goal difference at the start of 2016.

Ronny Deila’s side may have been inactive because of a waterlogged pitch at Dens Park but their Glasgow rivals did them a favour by holding the Dons at Pittodrie, just as Inverness did at the weekend.

McInnes admits he was disappointed not to get the win that would have moved them two points clear having played two games more. But he insists it’s still all to play for.

“I think that we are joint top of the league. We are not top of the table on our own like we wanted to be,” he said. “We have had two opportunities to do it but we haven’t lost either of our home games. We have stayed unbeaten and kept another clean sheet as well as having some decent passages of play in both games. I think the players deserve credit rather than criticism as we are all trying to get the right result.

“It’s a disappointed dressing room in there. The supporters are disappointed and we are all disappointed about what happened. But we have a lot going for us here and we are joint top of the league and we are going into the second part of the season with a lot to look forward to.

“We started positively and created enough chances to win but it just wasn’t to be. The surface didn’t help the ball players in terms of going forward with a degree of control but you also have to credit Partick for the way they played.”

Third-placed Hearts closed the gap on Aberdeen to seven points with a 3-2 home win over Dundee United.

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