Derek McInnes has hailed teenager Scott Wright’s performance against Hamilton Accies, backing the winger to follow in the footsteps of Niall McGinn and Jonny Hayes.
The Aberdeen manager handed Wright, pictured, a second successive league start, having watched him score a hat-trick against Partick Thistle on the final day of last season. Wright, who turns 20 tomorrow, did not let him down again, bringing zest to the Pittodrie side after the European disappointment of Thursday night.
“I see a difference in him,” said McInnes. “He has taken a lot of confidence from the Partick game. He’s watched Jonny Hayes and Niall McGinn be our wide players for the last four years or so, so it has been difficult getting him in.
“It is unrealistic to expect him to be at their level when he is 17, 18, 19 years old but he certainly has the potential to be that and more,” he added.
“We feel he is someone who will get better with game time. He is really friendly with Ryan Christie. I think Ryan being in the team and Scott getting confidence playing with certain players means he is only going to get better. His teammates all trust him. As a one-to-one wide player who can commit people he is exciting to watch.”
McInnes watched his side take a 27th-minute lead through defender Anthony O’Connor’s header. But even when the visitors were reduced to ten men, after Xavier Tomas saw red, Aberdeen found it hard to put Hamilton away until Miles Storey’s 90th-minute strike settled things. But the teams meet again on Wednesday in the second round of the Betfred Cup at Hamilton’s Superseal Stadium.
McInnes made four changes to his team yesterday after Thursday’s 2-0 defeat to Apollon Limassol in Cyprus. The manager later explained that he’d learned from experience to freshen up his side following such exertions in Europe.
“The one time we did not do it, I think it was the only time we have lost on the opening day, against Dundee United (in 2014), when they did us on the counter attack,” he said. “I was kicking myself for not freshening up the team. I think the freshness helped the team get a result.”
Hamilton manager Martin Canning had no complaints about the red card for Tomas. But he felt referee Euan Anderson was inconsistent.
“He booked (Georgios) Sarris for persistent fouling but (Graeme) Shinnie must have made five or six fouls,” he said. “If that’s not persistent, I don’t know what is. A lot went against us but that’s what happens to smaller clubs when the crowd is against you.”