Aberdeen: Derek McInnes under pressure to finish second - Willie Miller

Derek McInnes makes a point to his players during Aberdeen's 2-1 defeat at Ross County
McInnes cut a frustrated figure during his side's defeat in Dingwall

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes is under pressure to deliver a third successive second-place Premiership finish, says Dons legend Willie Miller.

The Dons are seven points behind Rangers in second, with a game in hand, after a 2-1 defeat at Ross County.

McInnes has led Aberdeen to runners-up finishes behind Celtic - who they trail by 18 points - for the last two years.

"There is always pressure at Pittodrie and the pressure is on Derek to finish second, absolutely," said Miller.

"When I was Aberdeen manager it wasn't good enough to be second.

"But Derek has put himself in a position and only has himself to blame because he has done very well since going there and has already finished second.

"Now the pressure will go on and you will get fans grumbling about it. It is how you react to that, take it on board and start turning things around.

"You have got to win games, it is about results now and the pressure will be on him a bit. It is how he handles that."

Aberdeen's Kenny McLean (right) exchanges words with fellow midfielder James Maddison (second (left) against Ross County
Kenny McLean (right) had an angry exchange with fellow midfielder James Maddison (second (left) against County

Saturday's defeat in Dingwall was Aberdeen's fourth defeat in their last eight league games, while Rangers have won eight and drawn two of their last 11 Premiership matches to move clear in second.

'Dons can still finish second again'

Miller, who played more than 550 games for the club in a trophy-laden 18-year career before a three-year spell as manager from 1992 to 1995, believes the Dons have suffered from inconsistent selection this season.

But he believes they still have a squad capable of overhauling Rangers and delivering a third straight runners-up spot.

"I thought [at the outset] that Aberdeen would have finished second this season, if you look at the strength in depth they have," he told BBC Scotland's Sunday Sportsound.

"That brings its own issues and can put it in the manager's mind that he might want to change his personnel, and Aberdeen haven't had a consistent selection this season.

Aberdeen in the Premiership under McInnes
2015-16:2nd - W22 D5 L11 Pts: 71
2014-15:2nd - W23 D6 L9 Pts: 75
2013-14:3rd - W20 D8 L10 Pts: 68

"Although they are still playing well, losing at Ibrox - where they played well but were beaten - has had an adverse effect. That puts pressure on the players and the manager and how do they handle that pressure?

"They had an opportunity in midweek [against Motherwell] to close the gap but the floodlights went out.

"Then they go to Ross County - never an easy place to go - but when they lose like that after they have played well, when County are down to 10 men, it is a huge blow to confidence.

"It is going to take a big effort from everyone at Pittodrie to get back on track again. But I still think the squad they have got is capable of finishing second."

As It Stood

5St Johnstone176652320324
6Ross County184861929-1020
11Inverness CT183782334-1116
12Partick Thistle173681927-815
View full Scottish Premiership table

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