SPFL fixtures unfair on Aberdeen - Derek McInnes

Peter Pawlett has been aware of Ali Crawford's goalscoring prowess since their days in youth team football. Picture: SNS

Peter Pawlett has been aware of Ali Crawford's goalscoring prowess since their days in youth team football. Picture: SNS

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DEREK McInnes insists he and the Aberdeen players are happy to play any time, anywhere, but supporters deserve more consideration when it comes to scheduling fixtures.

The Red Army face a long trek to Hamilton tonight and Dingwall a fortnight on Monday while Motherwell’s supporters must travel to Pittodrie next Friday.

In fact, Aberdeen don’t play any league match on a Saturday until they meet Hamilton again in early December.

The Dons manager has made it clear his players will comfortably cope with the situation but believes it is unfair on the fans to be mucked around with the fixtures so much.

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McInnes said: “Friday night football has been good but it’s hard for the supporters.

“The league should maybe be looking to have teams closer to each other playing in these fixtures.

“They are exciting games and it has brought a freshness to the game, but the geography should be looked at more.

“We have a strong support in the central belt so we’ll have plenty of fans there but it will be hard for people in the north-east to get there on a Friday night.

“We won’t play a league match on a Saturday until 6 December now, so there’s a lot of disruption.

“The players adjust to it, but there’s no doubt it can be a bit problematic for supporters.”

Despite that, the Aberdeen fans are still expected to outnumber the home support at New Douglas Park this evening.

Jonny Hayes returns to the starting line-up after missing the win at Dundee as the Dons look to close the gap on the league leaders to just one point.

That just adds more firepower to a side that has scored 15 goals during their five-game unbeaten run going into this match.

They have also been leaking an unusually high number of goals recently in the continued absence of Russell Anderson and Ryan Jack.

Peter Pawlett knows that the latter trait needs to end immediately, especially as they face the Premiership’s top scorer, Ali Crawford, tonight.

The Hamilton striker’s impact has come as no surprise to the Aberdeen midfielder as he spotted Crawford’s potential years ago when the pair first faced each other as kids.

Pawlett said: “Ali Crawford has done well and scored a few goals for them and he’s someone I remember from when I was younger.

“I played against him in the youth teams when he was always a good player and stood out for Hamilton, especially at under-11 or 12 level. I think he did well and scored a few goals and has carried that on and, overall, they have a good balance in their squad.

“I know from the squad we have at Aberdeen that there is no fear amongst younger players and Hamilton are showing that.

“I have watched them a few times and they play with great energy which makes it difficult for you when you have the ball.

“I am not surprised they are up there but I am maybe surprised they are league leaders.

“Ideally we can get the points that will get us up that table as we have picked up again in the last month or so.”

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