Derek McInnes claimed Chikhura Sachkhere’s penalty should never have been given as he hailed Aberdeen’s Europa League fightback in Tbilisi.

The Scottish Premiership side fell behind when Funso Ojo was penalised for a challenge on Irakli Lekvtadze and Vazha Koripadze converted.

But McInnes’ men hit back with a Sam Cosgrove penalty after the break in the second qualifying round first leg.

“I was disappointed at the penalty against us,” manager McInnes said.

“I have watched it back now and there wasn’t any contact. It was a poor decision. The response from my team was good and that pleased me, but it shouldn’t have been a penalty.”

McInnes was relieved to leave Georgia with a draw after his team’s promising start disintegrated when centre-back Ash Taylor was forced off with a hamstring problem midway through the first half.

With no defenders on the bench due to Mikey Devlin and Greg Leigh being out injured, the manager had to go with a makeshift backline that looked ill at ease at times.

But after conceding shortly before the break, the Pittodrie side rallied for a draw with Cosgrove rifling home from the spot following a Davit Maisashvili handball.

“Losing another defender to injury isn’t ideal because our options to play at full-back are limited so it was a challenge,” McInnes said.

“It wasn’t a perfect performance or result but under the circumstances but we are happy to get the away goal. The most pleasing thing for me was the response of the team from going a goal down.”

Taylor is now a doubt for Thursday’s return leg at Pittodrie, compounding Aberdeen’s defensive worries as they attempt to set up a meeting with Rijeka of Croatia.

“He has a hamstring injury so it’s too early to tell how bad it is,” McInnes added. “We will have to assess it tomorrow when we get back to Aberdeen.”