Lionel Ainsworth’s third goal of his loan spell from Rotherham United was enough to give Stuart McCall’s side the victory, their first against top six opposition this season.
That was enough to move them back into second place in the table as the Dons slipped back to fifth, just two points adrift of the Fir Park side.
It was also the first time this season that Aberdeen lost to one of their rivals for a second- place finish and McInnes could hardly believe they had succumbed to a breakaway goal.
The clearly frustrated Aberdeen manager said: ”We were by far the more dominant team but what we needed on the back of that were goals and we missed two or three opportunities from good play.
“We lost a really untidy goal which helped invigorate Motherwell. We still asked questions of them and we looked the team more likely to score. I don’t think Jamie Langfield, our keeper, had a save to make and to me, it feels like a bit smash and grab.” Aberdeen defender Michael Hector was equally disappointed at the setback in front of a bumper Boxing Day crowd of nearly 12,500, leaving the club’s average attendance up over 3,000 this season. That’s on the back of the expectation level created by McInnes in his first full season in charge and Hector wants to stay and make sure that promise is fulfilled.
His loan spell from Reading ends after the match at Kilmarnock on Sunday week but he’s hoping Royals manager Nigel Adkins will extend it.
He said: “I want to stay on because there are a lot of good opportunities coming up at Aberdeen.
“We’re still in the Scottish Cup, we’re playing Celtic away soon and there’s also the semi-final of the League Cup to consider. I’ve settled in very well at Aberdeen and feel part of the team. I always wanted to stay until the end of the season.”
Motherwell manager McCall was delighted to see his side finally get the better of a team that had defeated them in the league and League Cup previously this season, though it’s exactly five years since they last lost at Pittodrie.
He said: “Aberdeen were on a run of four consecutive victories so this was a good boost for us and we certainly had to dig in for a result because they were on the front foot. We’re glad to put the hoodoo to bed as this is the first time we’ve beaten anyone from the top six this season and we’re grateful for the three points.”