Dons boss McInnes: I never doubted my players at half-time against Kilmarnock, they are fully committed

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes.

Boss Derek McInnes today hailed the Dons for silencing their snipers by battling back from behind to dump Kilmarnock 3-1.

McInnes also revealed he hopes to have silenced Hull City’s interest in Scott McKenna.

McInnes contacted the Tigers to inform them the Reds’ phone is off the hook to any calls about the defender for the remainder of the January transfer window.

Aberdeen have rejected three bids from Hull for McKenna with the latest £700,000. Hull indicated they could pitch a fourth bid.

Aston Villa are also weighing up a bid for the Scotland U21 captain.

But McInnes today warned McKenna is NOT for sale in January.

Interest in McKenna will have ramped up even further after he netted twice – with his second a sensational 40-yard thunderbolt.

McKenna’s brace overturned a 1-0 half-time deficit and McInnes challenged the Reds to hush up critics he reckons were lining up for a swipe after the 2-0 loss to Rangers.

He said: “There would have been loads of doubters and people with plenty to say at half-time, thinking we were about to drop points again. It was important that the response was there.

“I know my players as I have worked with them for years and know how much they were hurting at Ibrox. “I know how determined they were to get back to winning ways and how much that motivation was there within them.

“There might have been people looking at us at half-time and doubting us.

“I reminded the players of those doubters at half-time.

“How people would be taking pleasure in us being 1-0 down at half-time.

“I never doubted us for a minute.

“For those who doubted us – they shouldn’t have.”

The game turned in the space of three second-half minutes as McKenna netted two quickfire goals.

The second was a 40-yard contender for goal of the season.

It will have added further weight to a growing reputation that has already seen the Dons reject three bids from Hull City for the centre-back.

Hull boss Nigel Adkins was at Ibrox on Wednesday to watch McKenna and indicated he could yet come in with a fourth bid before the window closes.

McInnes contacted Hull on Friday evening to tell them not to bother as the stopper is going nowhere this month.

McInnes said: “We spoke again to Hull on Friday night just to reinforce the message that he will not be sold, certainly not in this window.

“It was loud and clear that we don’t want any other offers. The phone is off the hook for the next few days regarding Scott. There is no point anybody offering in January.

“I understand why they are, and every club has their reasons to show their supporters they are trying to make signings.

“But Scott will be our player when this window closes.”

McKenna headed in an equaliser early in the second half then followed that up with a sublime 40-yard strike soon after.

McInnes said: “It was an outstanding strike from Scott but his overall game was magnificent.

“It shows his confidence that he was willing to step forward to take that shot on. “The shot was still gathering speed as it flew by MacDonald and it literally did nearly burst the net. “Scott was probably the only one who thought when he stepped on to it that having the shot was the right decision. “Thankfully, he did make that decision.

“After Mackay-Steven’s goal against St Mirren I said we probably wouldn’t see a better goal this season up here. One week later we have.”

Winger Niall McGinn also pitched in with a superb solo goal to make it 3-1 on his first start since returning to the Dons on a long-term deal until summer 2021.

McInnes said: “For me Niall was the star of the show in the second half. You could see how happy Niall was when he scored and when he came off the feeling he has for everyone here.

“It is mutual – he was fantastic.”

Attacker Ryan Christie missed the Killie match with a knee injury but should be okay for Wednesday’s trip to Ross County.

“Ryan was touch and go from a challenge he had against St Mirren late on,” said McInnes.

“Just prior to Joe Lewis being injured at Rangers he took a bang on the back of the knee on the same spot.

“The knee blew up again. He did running work on Friday without any contact.

“We thought he would be okay but Ryan reported on the morning of the game and was still not quite where we needed him to be.

“I am pretty sure he will be okay for Wednesday.”

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