Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes questions SFA protocols as he praises depleted squad despite 4-0 defeat at Rangers
Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes praised the efforts of his depleted squad despite going down to a 4-0 defeat at Ibrox on Sunday.
He also reiterated his disappointment at losing Lewis Ferguson and Connor McLennan on the eve of the match after the pair were required to self-isolate upon their return from Scotland Under 21 duty due to having been deemed close contacts of team mate Ross McCrorie, his brother Robby, of Livingston, and Celtic’s David Turnbull, who all tested positive for the virus.
McCrorie was already ruled out of the Rangers match due to being unable to face his parent club, but the Dons will also now be without the three youngsters for their upcoming league match at Hamilton on Wednesday as well as next Saturday's Scottish Cup tie at St Mirren.
The situation has left McInnes questioning the SFA protocols during international gatherings.
"It's not unlucky, that's the thing," he said. "You can pick up the virus - we can all pick that up - and that is the unfortunate part of it. But wiping other players out from a positive test is the bit that isn't unlucky. That's the bit that can be better.
"We had problems with the first international get-together in October, with Christie, Tierney and Armstrong, then we've had issues with the 21s, and it's affected my club more than others.
"We want our players to represent the country but there has to be some sort of parameters and assurances that what is actually happening is right because two of my players have been ruled by doing everything they were asked to do. 'Sit there, sit there and sit there, coach, hotel, flight' and they've been dragged into this as a consequence."
With a lengthy injury list to also contend with - Aberdeen are currently without Jonny Hayes, Marley Watkins, Niall McGinn and Dylan McGeough - it proved to be a tough afternoon in Glasgow for the men from the north-east as goals from Ryan Kent, Kemar Roofe, Scott Arfield and a James Tavernier penalty secured a comfortable win for Steven Gerrard’s league leaders.
"There was plenty of effort from the team," McInnes told Sky Sports. "We've picked a team we felt we had to pick rather than the team we wanted to pick.
"I think we had a few things go against us. The first goal was a lucky deflection and it gets Rangers up and running.
"The second goal I think we can do better with. We had a couple of opportunities to make the tackle.
"At half-time we spoke about starting the second half with a bit of purpose ... But this is a good Rangers team. They make you work, they test your organisation.
"I thought box-to-box we were actually pretty good but I think it's another deflection for the next goal and then a penalty, which I thought was really soft to be honest. I thought he big boy went down under very little contact having just seen it again.
"I've got to applaud the players for sticking with it. We're disappointed clearly because despite the problems we have, despite not having the speed in the team that we wanted, and despite being short of midfielders, I thought the effort from the players was clear."