RE-SHAPED DEFENCE INEVITABLE FOR CUP TIE
26th July 2016
Derek McInnes is facing a selection dilemma ahead of tomorrow nightâ€™s Co-operative Insurance Cup match at Livingston.
Defender Kevin Rutkiewicz (pictured) was taken to hospital immediately after Saturdayâ€™s 4-0 defeat from Partick Thistle and remains there this morning â€“ a viral infection looks the likeliest diagnosis. The experienced defender was clearly out-of-sorts during the first half at Firhill and was replaced soon after the break and a series of tests have been run on him over the weekend to establish what the problem might be.
Rutkiewicz will miss the trip to West Lothian and that wonâ€™t be the only defensive change required as the manager has decided not to pursue the signing of left-back Dan Smith who has played as a trialist in the past three games - the maximum allowed before a contract has to be signed.
McInnes told the Saints official website this morning â€œKevinâ€™s situation is a bit of a worry and Nick Summersgill is liaising with the doctors at the hospital to establish what the problem might be.
â€œI have decided to let Dan go and so we will have to re-jig the defence. Stuart McCaffrey has a slight groin problem but it shouldnâ€™t be serious enough to keep him out tomorrow but it leaves us very short at the back and I have been working since Saturday night to bring someone in and I am hopeful we might have a new face in time for the Livingston game.â€
The manager has been left frustrated that his intended target for the left-back position has now been told by his club that he cannot move â€“ a reversal of their initial indication.
Turning to Saturdayâ€™s Firhill hammering, Derek said â€œComing on the back of the previous weekâ€™s defeat from Dunfermline that is two horrendous results and performances, thereâ€™s no two ways about it.
â€œAll four goals on Saturday were from set plays and that is so disappointing because we work hard on these things in training. The players know that what they do in the secondary part of defending set plays is just as important as what they do with the initial stage - you donâ€™t lose your man until the ball has been cleared away from danger. It has been made clear to them that they have to see these things through and they didnâ€™t do it at Firhill.â€
Turning to the Livingston tie, Derek feels the reaction to the Thistle defeat is all important. He continued, â€œWe have to react the right way. Too many heads went down on Saturday and any opposition player just now must be thinking if they score theyâ€™ll win. However, we know we have players who can turn this around and we all must channel our energies into the Livingston game now. Things wonâ€™t change if we feel sorry for ourselves. Only hard work will solve the problems we have at the moment.