Craig Brown does not believe his Aberdeen side can win the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, despite moving joint top of the table with an impressive 4-1 victory over St Mirren at St Mirren Park.
Johnny Hayes fired a low shot beyond Craig Samson to open the scoring after 10 minutes, and St Mirren were punished for their inability to take their chances when Niall McGinn doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time as he ended a lightening-fast counter by slamming the ball high into the net.
Chris Clark drilled a low shot past Samson with four minutes remaining to put the game beyond Saints, and Mark Reynolds piled on more misery when he added a fourth one minute later. There was still time for Steven Thompson to notch a late consolation for St Mirren, but it did little to ease the disappointment for the home supporters.
The win saw the Dons join Celtic and Hibernian at the top of the standings, although Brown is reading little into their position.
"I have always underplayed my hand in any circumstances," he said.
"There's no way anyone other than Celtic will win the SPL, and it's an opinion which I think can be substantiated when you see Celtic, with six first-team players missing, beating Barcelona. I hope we will be up competing but to think any club other than Celtic will win it is either naive or optimistic."
The Aberdeen boss was delighted to see Niall McGinn score for the seventh successive time in the SPL. And he believes that 18-year-old Ryan Fraser would be the complete player if he was to follow McGinn's example in front of goal.
"The one deficiency in Ryan's game is scoring goals. He crosses it well, he beats a man but he doesn't score enough goals and McGinn is the opposite, he scores all the time," Brown said. "McGinn would even be better if he was bit more big-headed, outgoing and full of himself but he's an introverted type of chap."
Buddies manager Danny Lennon insists he will remain positive despite his side falling to their fifth successive SPL loss. The home side had the majority of the possession and chances, but Thompson's late goal was the only reward for their efforts.
"I must give credit to the players as they gave everything asked of them in the first half, without managing a goal," said Lennon. "I felt we lost our way in the second half. I understand the fans' frustrations, we must be strong just now. The campaign is a marathon, we are hurting at the moment but must keep believing and working hard."
- Sports & Recreation
- St Mirren
- Clydesdale Bank Premier League
- Niall McGinn
- Craig Samson