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Herald: Brown delighted with five-star response


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http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/spl/aberdeen/aberdeen-5-kilmarnock-0-manager-brown-delighted-with-five-star-response-to-midweek-setback-1.1086191

 

By Frank Gilfeather

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20 Feb 2011

 

Craig Brown admitted this was as good as it gets in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

 

The Aberdeen manager beamed with satisfaction as his side buzzed their way through an absorbing game to outplay and overpower a team that had lost just two of their previous 11 SPL games.

 

It was a scintillating performance by the home side, but the match was not without controversy, sparked when Kilmarnock centre-back Frazer Wright felled Chris Maguire in the area early in the second half as the Pittodrie striker, who had raced on to David McNamee’s precision pass, was about to pull the trigger. Wright escaped with just a yellow card, despite the foul preventing a clear scoring chance, but the penalty kick awarded was fired home by the victim.

 

By then, Aberdeen, 2-0 up with a quarter of the match gone, were in cruise control, Kilmarnock finding it well nigh impossible to cope with their energy and desire. “The most pleasing part of the win,” Brown said, “was the fact that in the SPL you have to list 18 players and it is mandatory that you have three under 21. We had nine.”

 

“We are keeping our feet on the ground, but there are encouraging signs there. We need to keep being consistent and get our other players back, such as Paul Hartley and Andrew Considine from suspension. It was also a particularly pleasing result after the midweek disappointment against Motherwell [who won 2-1 at Pittodrie].

 

“I’m not getting carried away and talking about the top six, all we are focusing on is consolidation in the SPL. If we can win some games between now and the end of the season we may emerge on the fringe of the six, but I have never set that as the target.”

 

Kilmarnock had the early impetus, with Jamie Langfield, called upon to rescue Aberdeen twice with saves his manager described as world class, from Mehdi Taouil’s effort and from Alexei Eremenko’s sweetly-struck free-kick from the edge of the area. Scott Vernon’s neat goal for the home side in the 13th minute after he took Ryan Jack’s low pass into the Kilmarnock six-yard box and turned Wright before firing the ball past Cammy Bell, may have been against the run of play, but it settled his team and afforded them the confidence to press a hesitant visiting defence.

 

By the time Sone Aluko drove into the area and unleashed a 12-yard shot past Bell to increase the home side’s lead, Aberdeen were fully in control and Langfield considerably less busy.

 

Maguire’s penalty was followed by a third goal with 20 minutes remaining. Aluko’s cross found Vernon at the back post and his the header back across goal was hooked into the by Rory McArdle.

 

Aberdeen were not finished and an eager Josh Magennis, pitched into the action nine minutes from the end, was alert in racing on to Garry Hay’s weak pass back and punished it with a well-taken goal. Kilmarnock’s ignominy was complete.

 

For Mixu Paatelainen, it could all have been so different had referee George Salmond done his job a few minutes into the game, when Zander Diamond should have seen red for tripping Kieran Agard as the on-loan striker looked set to roll the ball into an unguarded net after rounding Langfield. The Finn said: “I thought it was a goalscoring opportunity as all he had to do was tap the ball into the net.”

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