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Aberdeen's Mark McGhee said he took a tip from Rangers' defensive formation in the Champions League to earn a 1-1 draw away to Motherwell.

The Dons manager was denied four forward-looking players for the visit to Fir Park.

"I joked in midweek before the Rangers-Man United game, 'let's watch to see if we can get any inspiration'," McGhee told BBC Scotland.

"I saw Walter Smith's back three and I thought 'that will do for me'."

Rangers manager Smith had used three central defenders in claiming a backs-to-the-wall draw away to Manchester United.

"I felt that we had our strongest 11 out there that we've got available to us," said McGhee.

"In the shuffle, we ended up with five centre-halves. The way to get them out there, rather than play one up front, was to play with a back three."

McGhee was unable to call on Peter Pawlett, Sone Aluko, Fraser Fyvie and Andrius Velicka, their loan signing from Rangers.

"We'd hope that Velicka will start to get fitter," said McGhee. "He's training with us. It's post-international break before you see him come in to the team.

"Pawlett, Flyvie and Aluko are three flair players that we are missing badly."

McGhee had been determined not to suffer another defeat.

"We had lost two games in a row and it was important that we didn't lose a third," he said. "Eventually, we ground out a result.

"The goal we lost was the sort you don't expect to lose with five at the back, but generally I thought we were fairly comfortable defensively.

"We've got to find a way to play but still offer a threat going forward.

"We looked hard to beat, but we have to be able to create more chances, particularly early in the game.

"Although it's the first time we have played that way, I'd expect us to have a bit more careful possession.

"We gave the ball away unnecessarily. Perhaps it was the new system."


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