Aberdeen: Derek McInnes hails match-winner Niall McGinn

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes hailed match-winner Niall McGinn and thinks the forward has been unfairly criticised for his recent barren run.

McGinn, whose double was enough to defeat Hibernian, found the net 22 times last season but failed to score in 18 appearances after Christmas.

"Last season, he played a lot more through the middle," said McInnes.

"But he's not taken as many penalties this season, he's taken a lot of our set-plays this season."

McInnes thinks that, had the Northern Ireland international been playing a similar role to last season, "he wouldn't be far away in terms of his goal tally".

"That's him up to 12 now and everybody says he has been struggling this season," the Dons manager told BBC Scotland after McGinn's third in as many games.

"He's still been working, doing his shift when he's played any of the front four positions for us.

"I still feel there are goals in him and, if he can continue to score goals of that level in important games like that, hopefully we can have a successful season."

The victory puts Aberdeen three points clear of Motherwell in second place in the Scottish Premiership, but he was reticent to suggest that the same line-up would face St Johnstone in Sunday's Scottish Cup semi-final at Ibrox.

"There will one or two who will make you question that, but we won't be far away from that at all," he conceded. "We have been consistent with our selection this season."

Hibs' defeat leaves Terry Butcher's team only four points ahead of Partick Thistle in second-bottom spot, which this season means a play-off against a Championship side to avoid relegation, and McInnes said he had planned to play on the a lack of confidence afflicting the home players.

"We really got on top of them," he said. "We knew it was difficult for some of the Hibs players tonight, we tried to take full advantage of that, there's no guarantee the game's going to come easy, they are struggling at the minute to get a result.

"Terry's tried everything to get them going and we knew we couldn't give them any encouragement, we couldn't step off them and allow them to start enjoying the game.

"We wanted to make sure mistakes were at a minimum, we didn't give them any lift or confidence and it was a really diligent, hard-working performance littered with good bits of quality and control, which shows the maturity of my team and I'm delighted to see that."