McInnes challenges players to step up following Hayes injury blow
Published 18/02/2016 | 15:51
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has challenged other players to step up after Jonny Hayes was ruled out for up to a month.
The Irish winger limped off during the first half of Aberdeen's 3-1 defeat at Inverness on Monday, which hit their Ladbrokes Premiership title hopes.
McInnes said: "As anticipated, Jonny has got a tear in his hamstring and the scan shows he will be out for probably three to four weeks."
Peter Pawlett came on in his place and Cammy Smith has been pushing for more action. And, with central midfielders Willo Flood and Ryan Jack fit again following hamstring injuries, Kenny McLean could also be freed up to push forward more.
"I think it's important that it's somebody else's opportunity," said McInnes ahead of Friday's game against Partick Thistle at Firhill. "It's always been the way when you lose important players.
"We have lost important players at different stages of the season and we have to cope with that. There is no point getting too down about it.
"We know the importance of Jonny, but it's important that it's someone else's opportunity. Maybe one or two who haven't had a run of games might get a chance to do that now in his absence."
Another fallout from Monday's game was controversy following Willie Collum's penalty decisions. Aberdeen were denied two strong claims and Collum gave Caley Thistle a penalty at 1-1 despite there appearing to be little, if any, contact when Ash Taylor challenged for the ball with Ross Draper.
And McInnes was surprised that the Inverness midfielder was not the subject of a Scottish Football Association notice of complaint.
"It's not for me to be disappointed," he said. "There was anger and frustration at the time, but I am surprised.
"But for us it's done and dusted. We move on to Partick Thistle, we can't get involved in that and there is no real merit in getting involved in that.
"While there is anger from everyone connected to the club, you hope things get dealt with properly. We just move on to the next game."
McInnes is expecting his players to come out fighting after the end of their 12-game unbeaten league run.
"Knowing the players as I do they will be eager to get back to winning ways," he said. "We've been on a s trong run and it's important we bounce back with three points.
"I expect the determination to be there, it has been there more often than not in the last two-and-a-half seasons.
"It will be a tough game for us, there is always an opponent trying to stop you doing what you want to do. But we have got to show a performance of real determination and come up with three points.
"The pitch might be difficult, all the reports say that, so it might not be pretty on the eye at times for both teams but we have to find a way to win the game."