Boss McInnes denies Aberdeen’s ‘best chance’ of Scottish Cup progress is gone

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes

Dons boss Derek McInnes has dismissed the doubters who believe they have missed their best chance of progressing in the Scottish Cup.

Tonight Aberdeen play Rangers at Ibrox in their quarter-final replay for the right to face Celtic in the last four of the tournament.

The replay occurs after a 1-1 draw at Pittodrie last Sunday week.

The Reds dominated that encounter but were unable to claim victory. As a result plenty of pundits are making the Gers favourites to progress on their own patch this evening.

However, McInnes insists nothing has changed as Aberdeen look to move a step closer to winning the Scottish Cup for the first time since 1990.

The Dons gaffer said: “The Scottish Cup is important and over the history of the club we haven’t won it as many times as we would have liked.

“As a club we have not won it for a long time. In my time here we have been close.

“We have reached semi-finals and a final but for us to achieve what we set out to do we will have to beat a strong Rangers in Glasgow.

“The intention is to win the cup and nothing has changed just because we got a really difficult draw against Rangers.

“People think we have missed our chance by being the better team at Pittodrie and not winning.

“Just because the game is in Glasgow nothing has changed for us.

“It will be two good teams going head to head and our intention is to put Rangers out and get through.

“I want to win the Scottish Cup – but I don’t get too dispirited when we don’t.

“The intention is to keep on going. We want it to be this year, but if it isn’t we will try to win it next year.

“Myself and my players know what we want and we have to set about the task of going in and doing it and hopefully we can.”

Aberdeen head for Govan this evening following Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Celtic at Parkhead. It was a resolute defensive display from the Dons against the Premiership champions.

McInnes is hoping his charges can deliver another showing of that ilk and keep another clean sheet against Rangers.

The importance of shutting out Steven Gerrard’s side doesn’t need to be emphasised.

Both victories for the Reds against the Gers this season have come when they have kept clean sheets – 1-0 at Ibrox in the league in December and by the same score in October’s League Cup semi-final.

McInnes added: “When you play against good teams who like to dominate the ball like Celtic and Rangers you have to be smart with your work. You can’t give them too much space to operate because good players like space.

“Both Celtic and Rangers have got good players with a lot of pace who can punish you.

“If we had even resources we could go and take Celtic on and play in a certain way. But we have to find other ways to get our results and win a cup competition.

“This game will be similar where we need to pick and choose our fights, be good defensively as a team but also have the courage and confidence to go and play and create chances.

“We have scored against Rangers in every game we’ve played them this season, but like Celtic they’re not easy to score against.

“The defensive part of the game on Saturday was good and not many teams go to Parkhead and keep a clean sheet.

“The last three times we’ve gone there we’ve won 1-0, lost 1-0 and drew 0-0.

“There’s been nothing in those games and it shows with the right concentration and enough determination you can get the desired results.”

McInnes is hopeful of having wingers Gary Mackay-Steven and Niall McGinn available tonight.

Both missed Saturday’s draw with Celtic, Mackay-Steven with a calf knock and McGinn with a hip problem.