Winger Gary Mackay-Steven will play through the pain if it helps Aberdeen win the race to be Scotland’s best-of-the-rest side.
Mackay-Steven, 27, has been struggling with ankle and Achilles issues for more than a month, with the Reds attacker not training properly as a result.
European football next season is now secured, but the Dons are just one point clear in second going into the final weekend.
Ahead of Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw with Rangers, Mackay-Steven was ruled out by boss Derek McInnes, with the gaffer saying he hadn’t responded to treatment on the affected leg.
However, the Thurso-born player, who signed for the Dons from Celtic last summer, was a shock inclusion in the starting 11 for the crunch game with the Ibrox men after declaring himself able to play.
Of his start, Mackay-Steven said: “It was little bit of a surprise.
“I woke up feeling good, or better, but I was dying to play in the game.
“I didn’t want to miss it for anything. It was a bit of a surprise but I felt ok out there.”
He added: “I’m not doing an awful lot of training at the moment.
“I probably need a little bit of rest, but you want to be involved in the games.
“There’s a lot to play for and I just want to do my all. I feel, come the game, adrenaline and stuff gets you through.”
Aberdeen went one goal up via a Kenny McLean penalty after the midfielder was adjudged to have been pushed in the box by Rangers’ Alfredo Morelos.
The Dons dominated the Light Blues in the opening period, winning the midfield battle and setting McLean and Mackay-Steven on the left flank free to attack.
However, after half-time the Reds slowed down, letting the Gers take control of the midfield before conceding a Ross McCrorie header after a Morelos shot bounced up off defender Scott McKenna.
Mackay-Steven tested Jak Alnwick in the Rangers goal with a low, left-footed drive to the near post late on, but the keeper was able to get down to it.
On the performance, which meant four games with no wins, three losses and one draw against the Ibrox side this term, Mackay-Steven said: “It’s definitely frustrating.
“The first half we did well, got in about Rangers and got on top of them.
“The second goal was vital, we wanted to get that and I think second half we maybe dropped off a little bit and allowed them back into the game.
“It was a scrappy goal we lost and we just need to look at that from our point of view.
“But there was definitely a sense of frustration going in because we wanted the three points.”
However, Mackay-Steven is convinced the Reds put in their best performance of the campaign against Rangers in the first half at Pittodrie, in a season where they’ve been accused of being soft-centred against Glasgow’s big two.
He said: “We knew we were overdue a performance against them. We haven’t done ourselves justice at all.
“They’ve been on top all the previous times and we wanted to show we can compete and we did that.
“But it’s a slack goal, it’s a throw-in, a nothing ball that’s gone in the air and the boy (Ross McCrorie) has got a header in. We maybe dropped our tempo a little bit and let them back in.”
Trying to find an explanation for the drop in Aberdeen’s level in the second period, Mackay-Steven added: “I think it’s a bit of everything. A bit of tiredness from our boys as well.
“They played a little bit better, got the ball down and passed it better.
“They had spells in the game, but I thought the second goal was vital and the fact they got it knocked the stuffing out of us a little bit.
“A draw’s an ok result, but obviously we need to win.”
With Rangers and Hibs, the third and fourth-placed teams in the country set to play each other on Sunday, Aberdeen know their last game of this term – an away trip to face Celtic at Parkhead – is one they have to win to guarantee themselves second.
As long as Motherwell don’t beat the Celts to the Scottish Cup at Hampden on May 19, second will guarantee the Reds a later second qualifying round entrance to next season’s Europa League.
Three points would end a 14-year winless record at the home of the Hoops on league business, and it’s a game Mackay-Steven desperately wants to make himself available for – should his injury allow it.
He said: “I think I’ll be all right (for Sunday). It’s all about recovery now, the games are coming thick and fast.
“When you get a niggle or a bang it’s touch and go right up until kick-off, but the games are so big and meaningful right now at the end of the season, I want to play as much as I can.
“If there’s a chance at all I want to make myself available.”