Derek McInnes says Aberdeen will not challenge Celtic for Scottish Premiership title

Derek McInnes
Image: Derek McInnes: Aberdeen manager believes his team will not challenge Celtic for the Scottish Premiership title

Derek McInnes says Aberdeen will not win the Scottish Premiership, despite being just five points off leaders Celtic.

The Dons closed the gap on Celtic with a 2-1 win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park, a victory secured through goals from Adam Rooney and Cammy Smith and with an injury-time penalty miss from the home side.

It is a win which also means Aberdeen have matched their points tally of last season - 68 - with six games still to play and puts them 13 points clear of third-placed Inverness.

But their manager McInnes does not feel they will present a title challenge to Celtic, who have played a game fewer than Aberdeen and remain strong favourites for the silverware.

"We did not even mention the Celtic result before the game," he said. "Okay we have gained a couple of points on the two teams closest to us but Celtic are not going to lose the league now.

"They are very strong and have never showed any form that would suggest they will throw it away.

"We have been very good since the back end of October and are just delighted we have got to 68 points, the same tally as we had last season.

"To have reached that with six games to go is testament to how well and how hard the players have worked.

"We are getting better and stronger as we go along and getting further away from the rest. That pleases me no end."

Aberdeen's win ends Killie's faint hopes of reaching the top six and leaves them looking over their shoulder at the battle to avoid the relegation play-off spot.

Their manager Gary Locke vented his frustration at referee John Beaton in his summing-up of the match, and in particular what he felt was a foul on Josh Magennis prior to Smith's decisive goal.

"I'm not really a manager who tends to moan too much about referees because I think it's unfair but I certainly felt it was a foul on Josh in the build-up to their winner," he said.

"You could tell by the reaction of our supporters that they felt the same way but we didn't get it and we should have defended the cross better.

"Penalising Tope in the first half was another baffling decision. There were one or two like it today and I was obviously disappointed by them but, as a manager, you need to keep your opinions to yourself."

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