MX23RW : Sunday, July 21 18:03:20| >> :600:12785613:12785613:
Feb 23, 2019 at 3pm UK at ​McDiarmid Park (Perth)
Attendance: 5,092
St Johnstone
0-2
Aberdeen
FT(HT: 0-1)
Shinnie (16', 75')

Graeme's golden for Aberdeen and McInnes

Graeme's golden for Aberdeen and McInnes
© Reuters
Captain Shinnie leads by example as Dons make ground on Rangers.

Derek McInnes hailed two-goal skipper Graeme Shinnie as the Dons closed the gap on second-placed Rangers in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

The influential midfielder, who is out of contract in the summer, followed up an early opener with a 75th minute strike to clinch three valuable points in Perth.

The travelling fans made it clear they want Shinnie to extend his stay with Aberdeen and the Dons have reportedly made him an offer which would make him the club's highest ever paid player.

Shinnie's goals stretched the Pittodrie side's winning run to seven matches and equalled a long-standing club record, with Saints unable to get the result required to ease past Hibernian and reclaim sixth place in the table.

McInnes said after the 2-0 success: "There are one or two games where Graeme hasn't been at his best level but he has a lot to consider and what is clear is his pride at being Aberdeen captain and he has a connection with the fans.

"My connection with him is stronger than it has been with any player and I trust him. He has a lot to consider and hopefully he will continue to be an Aberdeen player."

McInnes added: "I'm really pleased. We were disappointed last week at dropping two points and it was important we bounced back.

"I watched St Johnstone last week and I thought they were very good so we knew it would be a difficult task here. They started well but once we got the first goal we were in charge of the game."

"You are never going to get it easy here as St Johnstone are a very good side. It was another big victory for us and as the games run out we have to try to maximise our return."

Perth boss Tommy Wright, now without a win in the last six league games, lamented slack possession play which paved the way to both Shinnie's strikes.

But the composed performance of young Perth defender Jason Kerr will have caught the eye of watching Scotland coach Alex McLeish.

Wright said; "We should have taken something from the game but if you make mistakes and give the ball away cheaply like we did, you're making it hard for yourselves.

"What we put into the game was enough to get a point at least.

"Jason was outstanding – he has been all year.

"I don't know if he'll be picked for Scotland. Alex was here and told the chairman (Steve Brown) he'd call me, which will be nice, but whatever happens happens."

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St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright pictured in January 2016
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