CELTIC will move to within a point of Premier League leaders Aberdeen if they beat Hamilton Accies this afternoon.
The dire Dons were on the receiving end of a five-goal salvo from St Johnstone at Pittodrie to collapse to their third consecutive defeat.
Crisis club Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes saw his team toppled in the League Cup by Championship side Hibs and a Ryan Christie-inspired Inverness Caley Thistle turned them over last weekend.
St Johnstone, without an away league victory since the start of the campaign, ran amok in their 5-1 triumph with the Dons struggling to cope with the pressure.
Manager McInnes admitted his team have work to do after crashing against the rampant Perth outfit. It is the first time he has lost three straight games during his reign at Pittodrie. Rumours on social media and Dons forums suggest that McInnes has lost the dressing room. Aberdeen fans realise that their dreams of challenging Celtic look like disappearing as their struggling side’s dip in form is hardly the way to win the league.
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The dismal Dons, who could boast of a 100 per cent home record going into the game, were undone by first-half goals from Brian Easton, Joe Shaughnessy and Liam Craig as well as a double from Steven MacLean.Ash Taylor got one back for the home side and McInnes said the international break gives his squad a chance to re-group after the 5-1 thrashing.
He said: “What we have here is an honest bunch of players and we need to nip it in the bud because we don’t want to be known as the kind of team that loses cheap goals.
“There are certain aspects of our play that it’s clear we need to work on. We need to find the answers in the squad. We’re confident, hard-working and honest, and we expect more than we showed against the Saints.”The international break makes it frustrating that we don’t have another game for 13 days, but there’s work to be done and it gives us a chance to do that work.”
McInnes admitted that his side were lacking physically against the Saints and the side that were more prepared to battle won the game.
He added: “It was clear to me that we didn’t deal with set-plays. The first four goals came from set-pieces and the team that won more tackles and headers won the game.
“They were more streetwise and strong, and the physical side of the game won them it.
“We were lacking where we had to be strong – at set-plays. Most games are won and lost in both boxes and, although we started well, it’s hard to even talk about that because if you can’t defend your box and see off the opposition threat, you’re always going to be up against it.”
Yesterday’s result also embarrassed those who suggested that St Johnstone’s recent league cup victory against The Rangers at Ibrox was somehow a ‘freak’ result.
This headline is in the Sunday People:
SUPER SAINTS IN DEMOLISION JOB
Who said standards in newspapers were slipping?