Aberdeen 2-1 Motherwell: Derek McInnes hails value of win

The importance of Aberdeen's comeback at home to Motherwell was underlined by manager Derek McInnes when he suggested that could be the Dons' "best three points of the season".

The alert Scott McDonald diverted Lee Erwin's shot past Jamie Langfield to give Motherwell a deserved lead before the Reds scored twice after the break.

"We changed the shape and in the second half we changed our demeanour; we were far more aggressive," said McInnes.

"We deserved the win in the end."

Motherwell's form contrasted greatly before and after the interval. In the first period they were the busier, hungrier team and their generally composed play will have given manager Ian Baraclough and the travelling fans hope that they can play themselves out of the relegation zone.

Ash Taylor heads for goal
Ash Taylor powers a header at the Motherwell goal where George Long makes a great save before knocking the ball over the line

But the Steelmen left the imposing Ash Taylor unmarked at a 50th-minute corner and, although goalkeeper George Long made a great save to keep out the Aberdeen defender's header, as the ball bounced near the goal-line he knocked it over instead of catching it.

And two minutes later, when Motherwell punted the ball forward, Long came off his line only for his team-mate Louis Laing to head the ball past him, allowing Adam Rooney to put Aberdeen into the lead.

"Motherwell were far more aggressive than us, we were out of sorts," admitted McInnes about the first half.

"They were excellent and deservedly went in front, but we showed why we are where we are in the league in the second half - the performance showed how important the points were to us.

"We were winning headers, second balls, we played with far more pace and we were far more aggressive throughout.

"We thoroughly deserved the win in the end.

"It's a reminder to us that every point is precious and that every game is a challenge.

"I'm so pleased for my players tonight because that could be the best three points of the season. We always felt it would be a tough night because Motherwell have improved.

"That's 12 wins and two draws from our last 15 league games. We are delighted. We now have 10 games to go now and we have to win as many as we can."

Ian Baraclough
Ian Baraclough's side are in a relegation fight with Ross County and St Mirren

There were mixed feelings for Motherwell's Baraclough, though, as he weighed up the satisfaction drawn from the first-half display with the poor defending at the goals.

He told BBC Scotland: "You can keep talking about a sorry story, but if you don't defend set pieces - you wouldn't believe we do so much work on it.

"We made them change their approach and their personnel in the first half. They couldn't cope with our front men's movement, our energy. We moved the ball very well - how do you comprehend losing a game like that?

"We were looking very comfortable, worthy of going in at half-time 1-0 up. We were looking to extend our lead, not sit back on it."

On the loss of the goal from Taylor's header at a corner kick, he said: "You've got to have the desire to attack a ball when it comes into the area.

Motherwell duo Keith Lasley and Josh Law
Motherwell duo Keith Lasley and Josh Law cut dejected figures as they trudge off the Pittodrie pitch

"It's happened too often this season that we have shot ourselves in the foot by not attacking something in the box.

"It allowed them to get back into the game. It cost us a game of football."

But Baraclough refused to blame Long for the Dons' equaliser.

He said: "He's a good, good goalkeeper. He made an unbelievable save for the first one and it hit his hand when he tried to recover it so there is absolutely no blame there."

A win for St Mirren away to Kilmarnock on Saturday would lift them above 11th-placed Motherwell, putting the Lanarkshire side bottom of the table.

But the Well boss remains confident that his team can stay up.

"We'll be fine," he asserted.

"The performance level has risen in the last few weeks. I'm gutted for them (the players) and they're rightly gutted as well because they have put an enormous amount of work in."

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