Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass sweats over fitness of duo for Europe and has say on seven changes against Raith

Stephen Glass admits that the injuries suffered by Jonny Hayes and Ryan Hedges in the 2-1 defeat by Raith Rovers in the Premier Sports Cup could force them out of Thursday’s crucial European tie against Qarabag.
Aberdeen's Ryan Hedges left Stark's Park on crutches.Aberdeen's Ryan Hedges left Stark's Park on crutches.
Aberdeen's Ryan Hedges left Stark's Park on crutches.

Both Hayes and Hedges limped off in the latter stages at Stark’s Park as Aberdeen chased an equaliser, leaving them with nine men at the end, and both are now doubtful for the first leg of their Europa Conference League play-off in Azerbaijan. Hayes was unable to put weight on his left foot, while Hedges left Kirkcaldy on crutches.

It capped off a wretched afternoon for Glass, who made seven changes to his starting XI and watched on as his team spurned a one-goal advantage against lesser-ranked opposition.

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“I don’t know yet [about Hayes and Hedges], but players don’t want to come off when you are chasing a result,” said Glass.

“The fact we ended up with nine shows that things weren’t great. Hopefully they will be ready, but I am not confident – without knowing the full extent of the injury.

“We will give them every opportunity, but we won’t get much of a chance to train before Thursday.”

Despite trying to rest key players such as Christian Ramirez, Lewis Ferguson, Scott Brown and Hedges by putting them on the bench, Glass did not regret making such wholesale changes.

“You saw a group in the first half who were more than capable of winning that game,” said Glass, who feels the defeat is an “enormous blow” to the club.

“They didn’t quite do enough but you saw how quickly we became stretched with the injuries.

“The boys who were left out, one full-back was 18 and the other this is in his first season as a professional apart from a loan at Forfar.

“There has to be a protection level there for the players.

“I said before the game it is not about being clever or trying to rotate the group, but this group was more than capable of winning this game.

“We were in control of the first half, but we didn’t start the second half particularly well.”