Replacement of Stevie May during Scottish Cup tie ‘no slight’ on performance says Dons boss McInnes

Stevie May is wanted by a number of Scottish clubs
Stevie May is wanted by a number of Scottish clubs

Striker Stevie May was replaced at half-time in the Scottish Cup tie but Derek McInnes insists it was not a slight on his performance.

With the game balanced at 0-0 at the break, boss McInnes substituted May for winger Niall McGinn against Queen of the South.

Northern Ireland cap McGinn had an immediate impact when scoring the opening goal inside two minutes of his introduction in the 4-1 win.

The 31-year-old also pitched in with two assists to secure the man-of-the-match award in just 45 minutes.

McInnes insists taking off May was purely a tactical decision as he was happy with the striker’s performance.

McInnes said: “It was no reflection on Stevie May’s performance, him coming off.

“It was no slight on Stevie’s performance as he was doing fine in the game.

“But I just felt we needed to stretch Queen of the South’s back four a bit more.

“Then we could get (Greg) Stewart and (Graeme) Shinnie closer to Sam Cosgrove.

“People think that when you go with two strikers it is automatically more attacking.

“But I thought we had more control and gave them more problems to deal with in the second half.

“Our performance in the second half showed me it was the right shape as everyone looked far more comfortable within that.”

Niall McGinn

McGinn has been on the bench for two consecutive matches, having also been a substitute in the 4-2 loss to Rangers last Wednesday.

In his last start, the 4-1 Scottish Cup replay defeat of Stenhousemuir at Ochilview, the winger also scored.

McInnes said: “This has happened a lot with our subs recently as they have come on and given us a real impact.

“For Niall to come on and score with virtually his first touch and assist a couple of goals was a fantastic contribution.

“It is important that we have players of McGinn’s quality to turn to.”

McInnes revealed he was confronted with a choice between McGinn and rising Pittodrie star Connor McLennan.

Having missed the defeat to Rangers with a minor knee complaint, McLennan, 19, was back in the squad.

McLennan was a stand-out for the Dons in the congested period before the Premiership winter shutdown.

However, since the resumption of the campaign following that break, the teen has featured just once.

That was as a second-half substitute in the 1-1 Scottish Cup draw with League One strugglers Stenny at Pittodrie on January 19.

McInnes said: “We wanted another wide player and it was between Niall and Connor McLennan.

“Obviously Niall has that experience, know-how, calmness and quality in these situations.

“We thought Niall was the right one to come on.

“It certainly paid dividends.

“It is great for me as a manager to have those options available on the bench.”