Derek McInnes calls for one last effort to end Abderdeen’s ‘demanding’ December

Derek McInnes has been pleased with his Aberdeen players' focus during a challenging period. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS
Derek McInnes has been pleased with his Aberdeen players' focus during a challenging period. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS
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Derek McInnes is looking for his Aberdeen side to sign off a demanding December with a win at Livingston in their ninth game of the month, following a 4-3 home defeat by leaders Celtic on Boxing Day which left them in fourth place in the Premiership.

He said: “It’s important we try to finish the month off in winning ways.

“December has been really demanding on everyone – staff, supporters and especially the players with the physical output they have to give.

“We’ve picked up a couple of injuries as a consequence of just too many games, with Niall (McGinn) and Max (Lowe)’s groin problems. The players have acquitted themselves very well, won some important games in December and their focus has been good as it’s not just the physical aspect but trying to be at our best for every game.But we know the importance of tomorrow and I’m sure the players will give one last effort before we get a few days off.”

Aberdeen beat Livingston 3-2 at Pittodrie earlier in the month and McInnes is preparing for another tough game on Livi’s artificial surface, against a side who have impressed since coming up from the Championship this year.

He said: “They have surprised a lot of people, having sustained their form so far into the campaign, and they deserve a lot of credit.

“They’ve only lost once at home and some good teams have gone there and come away with nothing or just a point, so to win there will be a big ask for us but that is the intention.”

Craig Halkett has told Rangers boss Steven Gerrard if he does not want Ryan Hardie, Livingston will be more than happy to keep hold of the striker, whose six-month loan deal expires after today’s match, but the 21-year-old has had no word on whether he is required back at Ibrox.

Lions skipper Halkett, would love to see the Scotland Under-21 frontman extend his stay at the Tony Macaroni Arena after watching Hardie return from a seven-month injury lay-off to score four goals in as many starts.

“Ryan’s been brilliant since he came back into the team. It’s been like having a new signing these past four weeks,” said Halkett, left. “We were looking forward to having him back after his performances on loan last year but he got the injury and he’s had to work so hard to get back fit.

“But now that he’s clear of that he’s just doing what he always does – scoring goals. Sometimes you look at his performances and think he’s not done much over the 90 minutes – but then he’ll pop up in the last ten or 15 minutes and get a goal or two.

“His loan is up next month so I imagine the club will be doing everything they can to keep Ryan until the end of the season because he could be a massive player for us.”