Gaffer McInnes hails aggression, intensity and speed after side’s Scottish Cup draw with Rangers

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes.
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes.

Dons boss Derek McInnes believes they missed an opportunity in their Scottish Cup draw with Rangers – but insists they have the belief to win the replay.

Aberdeen and the Gers drew 1-1 at Pittodrie in the quarter-final of the cup and it means the sides will meet again a week tomorrow at Ibrox.

The Reds were ahead through Sam Cosgrove’s early penalty before Joe Worrall equalised shortly after half-time for the Govan team.

As the second period went on it was the Dons who had more chances to win the tie.

Already this season Aberdeen have beaten Rangers 1-0 at Hampden in the League Cup in October and by the same score at Ibrox in the Premiership in December.

McInnes said: “I thought we were very good in the game.

“From the first whistle we were bright with our work with enough aggression, intensity and speed in the game.

“We defended very well against a good team who have been high-scoring and free-flowing lately.

“Rangers have been very good and we tried to get the balance right of trying to nullify that.

“I thought they had some good possession but it was all in their own half and going side to side.

“They never really opened us up to often and that was due to the good work of my players.

“We carried a good threat and we broke really well and we got the penalty kick.

“You saw why I was keen to have Gary Mackay-Steven involved because he brings us that speed and penetration.

Aberdeen’s Gary Mackay-Steven is fouled by Rangers’ Connor Goldson and a penalty is awarded

“We were good value for going 1-0 up and Scott McKenna hits the bar shortly after.

“We wanted that second goal and I thought we had enough chances to get the second goal in the second half.

“We contained a good Rangers team with good players for long period.

“We’re disappointed with the goal we lost, Sam Cosgrove was blocked off by Lewis Ferguson and for Worrall to put the ball in so low down was disappointing.

“We responded well to that equaliser, we had good chances to get the second goal.

“Naturally we were disappointed not to win from a winning position but I’m really pleased with the performance from my team.

“It doesn’t matter to me that it (the replay) is in Glasgow we have won their this season at Ibrox and at Hampden and we’ve got a very good away record.

“We look forward to the game when it comes round – we’ve missed an opportunity from a winning position but we’ll be ready for the replay.

“It (wins over Rangers at Hampden and Ibrox) is a reference when you speak to the players, it’s there, but the players don’t need to be reminded of that.

“Whenever you play Rangers home or away you expect a tough game because they’ve got good players and spent a lot of money.

“They’ve assembled a good squad, but we’ve shown we can compete with them and shown we can win.

“We go down there with belief that we can do that again.”

After winning the penalty for Cosgrove’s goal in the ninth minute Gary Mackay-Steven had to be subbed on the quarter-hour mark.

Aberdeen’s Gary Mackay-Steven is injured following a challenge from Connor Goldson.

The winger was caught heavily by Connor Goldson and was sent for an X-Ray last night as a precaution.

McInnes added: “He’s away to the hospital to get an X-Ray as a precaution just because of where it was in the calf.

“We hope there’s nothing going on there but we feel as though it’s a haematoma, a really bad kick with bruising into the calf.

“Hopefully that is the case and it that will heal in a few days.”

One disappointment for the Dons is that 18-goal striker Sam Cosgrove will miss the replay at Ibrox next week after picking up his second booking in the Scottish Cup.

Aberdeen’s Sam Cosgrove beats Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor from the spot to make it 1-0.

He was also yellow carded in round five against Queen of the South.