McInnes looking at positives as duo set to return for Aberdeen’s trip to Motherwell

Ryan Christie in action for Aberdeen.

Dons boss Derek McInnes insists there are still positives to take from losing a 10th straight game to Celtic.

Aberdeen went down 2-0 at Pittodrie to slip 12 points behind the league leaders.

McInnes reckons the Dons went “toe to toe” with the defending champions but didn’t get a result as they were not ruthless enough in the final third.

He said: “We went toe to toe with Celtic.

“The team gave everything as there was no shortage of effort.

“We were on them and made contact with tackles, everything you need to do to make the game go our way.

“On another day we would maybe get something from that, ultimately the quality of Celtic in the opposition box counted.

“Even though we can take positives from it we are still disappointed.

“We are now judged and looked at with our results against Celtic.

“Ultimately we lost and that is not what we wanted.”

Aberdeen were without the influential midfield duo of skipper Graeme Shinnie and Ryan Christie.

Shinnie was suspended, while on-loan Celtic star Christie could not face his parent club due to the terms of his loan agreement.

Both will return to action for tomorrow’s Premiership clash at Motherwell.

McInnes said: “Without Christie and Shinnie we tried to put a midfield together that would help us play the game going forward and I thought those boys did well.

“We tried to get after Celtic by being a counter-attacking team at the right moments with ball carriers in Mackay-Steven and McGinn.

“That and the front two that we could engage quickly when we won possession.

“The players stuck to their task and went about their job in a way I would have liked.

“We could have applied a bit more pressure when the ball was in their box and been more ruthless.

“Arnason was a fraction away from putting us in front in the middle of the goal with the header.

“Stevie May was similar and we had some good moments in the game.

“In the second half I thought we were the better team and played with a bit of thought and plenty of endeavour.

“We got opportunities and got into their box. We asked the question of Celtic.

“At 1-0 when they went down to 10 men I thought we still had plenty of time to go on and get the equaliser and then try to win the game.

“It was disappointing to go a goal down, but I was pleased with a lot of aspects in the first half. And even more so in the second half.”

Celtic were reduced to 10 men with quarter of an hour remaining when Mikael Lustig received a second yellow.

The Reds looked to force home that man advantage only to concede a counter-attack goal from their own free-kick deep in Celtic territory.

McInnes said: “We were guilty of not taking chances and ultimately over exuberance and naivety in losing that second goal.

“It was a chance on a set-play to go and ask the question of them.

“For us to lose the ball from box to box as quickly as that was really frustrating.”

Aberdeen have lost two successive Premiership games to lose ground in the fight for second.

They trail second-placed Rangers by three points, although that gap could be larger by the time they pitch up in Motherwell.

The Ibrox club are set to face St Johnstone in Perth tonight.

McInnes said: “We will dust ourselves down and try to get a positive result at Motherwell.

“We know how difficult that will be but we have won there already this season.

“We have also lost at Motherwell this season so we recognise the type of game we are going to face.

“Hopefully we can show a lot of the qualities we did against Celtic and come out with the result.”