It doesn’t look as though Aberdeen have been too negatively affected by Scott McKenna’s long-term hamstring injury.
Derek McInnes confirmed last week that the Scotland international would be out for the season (BBC). It came after McKenna picked up the injury in a Scottish Cup quarter-final clash against St Mirren over a week ago.
However, with Celtic in the Scottish Cup final coming up at the start of next month, Aberdeen don’t seem rocked by the news.
Indeed, just a simple tactical shuffle by McInnes has done the trick. He’s brought Mikey Devlin back in from the cold to partner Ash Taylor. He started the 2-2 draw against Kilmarnock before coming on when Aberdeen changed from a back three to a more defensive four against Hibernian.
Aberdeen’s main goal will, therefore, be getting him fully up to speed before the Scottish Cup semi contest. Devlin has only started two of Aberdeen’s previous 15 league games (Transfermarkt). However, getting outings in the last two suggests McInnes could go with him alongside Taylor next week.
Lack of cover available
However, despite the fact Aberdeen have reacted well to the McKenna injury, they can’t afford another defensive set-back between now and April 12th.
Looking at their bench at the weekend, there was a real lack of defensive cover available to the Dons. In their 3-1 win against Hibernian, only Devlin was available to come on as a centre-back. If they’re to play with a back four against Celtic, they don’t have any alternative.
Should anything happen to Devlin or Taylor, left-back Andrew Considine would likely have to cover at centre-back. But even then they don’t have a natural replacement left-back for him either. So the Dons have a couple of concerns heading into the game next month.
For now, it looks as though they’ll be okay with Devlin able to slot in. He played the full 90 minutes against Celtic in our 4-0 romp at Pittodrie back in October. That’s the only appearance he’s made against us all season, as Odsonne Edouard ragdolled him with a fine performance.
With Celtic’s front two of Edouard and Leigh Griffiths causing havoc however, it’s clear that Aberdeen have a massive task on their hands trying to keep these goal-machines out.
However, McKenna’s injury hasn’t quite caused a crisis for McInnes ahead of next month’s massive contest.