Derek McInnes says that he knew tiredness would eventually take its toll as Aberdeen went down 2-1 to Ross County at Pittodrie.
It started brightly for the hosts. Curtis Main continued his impressive form of late with a first half effort before things took a turn for the worse. Dean Campbell was dismissed for a second booking.
Ross County managed to equalise before the break as McInnes’ side were left with a fight. Having played for 120 pulsating minutes in the Scottish Cup on Wednesday, there wasn’t much left in the tank.
Eventually the ten men couldn’t hold on as McKay struck again with minutes to spare. It’s a great result for County who are now eight points clear of the relegation zone. For Aberdeen though, they are back down to fourth.
The Dons have St Mirren in the Scottish Cup quarter finals to worry about next before a huge run of league games. Kilmarnock will follow after the Buddies clash before facing the three other teams in the race for third place consecutively, playing Hibs at Pittodrie before Motherwell and Livingston trips.
Speaking to Aberdeen’s website, McInnes admits that tiredness was eventually a factor for Aberdeen as they failed to get over the line in their Staggies test.
“When you go so long with 10 men, you have got to make sure you have enough resilience to see it out,” said McInnes. “It would have been a brilliant point given the circumstances. I know it is not a brilliant point in the context of the fixture and the game, we went out to win it.
“Since Ross County played their last match last Saturday, we have played 90 minutes against the champions, down to Kilmarnock and played extra time. We travelled back up; we didn’t get to our beds until the back of 3am. We have had two full on games since they last played. I knew that fatigue could be an issue. The last thing we needed was going down to 10 men. It makes the task even more difficult.
“At the start of the game, we spoke about getting a good start to the game and getting the first goal. We are delighted that Curtis managed to continue his good form and get a goal. We knew we needed something to hang onto in the second half, to give us oxygen and keep battling away. When you go down to 10 men, everything becomes more difficult.”