04 Mar McInnes bemoans Pittodrie pitch as Dons are held by Kilmarnock
Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes believes his side’s form is being affected by a poor pitch at Pittodrie.
The Dons’ last two home games have seen them beaten 2-0 by Celtic in the Ladbrokes Premiership last weekend before being held 1-1 by Kilmarnock in the William Hill Scottish Cup on Saturday.
Aberdeen took a ninth-minute lead through Graeme Shinnie but Kris Boyd levelled midway through the second half from the penalty spot to set up a quarter-final replay.
Speaking after the match, McInnes bemoaned the Pittodrie pitch and said they deserve better.
He said: “It’s a difficult surface and I would even say that Kilmarnock’s flair players, the likes of Jordan Jones, struggled to run with the ball on it.
“It’s more for playing percentages, pragmatically. It’s the same for both teams, but certainly for our players we never quite had that spark.
“We shouldn’t be accepting of the surface. We spent a lot of money on it in the summer, and I’m well aware of how hard our ground staff are working on it, but we’re deserving of a better pitch.
“I need to balance that by saying it’s not the reason we’re not through to the semi-finals, but we’re having to play a certain way, a way which doesn’t always suit some of our players.
“There’s no real speed in the pitch, the surface isn’t slick. It’s difficult. Players who would normally run with the ball are having to fully concentrate as they’re running rather than trying to execute the pass, cross or shot”.
The replay will take place on Tuesday March 13, but Killie boss Steve Clarke will ensure his players are fully focused on their league commitments in the interim.
Kilmarnock are sixth in the Premiership standings and have home games against St Johnstone and Ross County coming up.
He said: “The last thing we wanted was another midweek game because we’ve plenty of them coming up.
“We’ll take the replay – I think the tie is still open, maybe with Aberdeen slight favourites because they’ve been up there for years and years.
“The replay will be a completely different game, but before we get to that we have two massive league games, so my focus will be on St Johnstone midweek, and after that it’ll be on Ross County at the weekend.
“We’re trying to close the gap on the teams above us, trying to get better every week.”