Aberdeen’s McInnes: Rangers should have been able to buy Premiership second but we are still there

Derek McInnes.
Derek McInnes.

Boss Derek McInnes claims Rangers’ multi-million budget should’ve bought second …

But the Dons are ready to beat them to that runners-up spot.

Aberdeen host the Gers tonight in a high-stakes clash in the race to finish second.

The Reds hold a one-point lead over Rangers who shelled out £10m in the bid to become Celtic’s main challengers this season.

McInnes said: “With what Rangers have got to work with they should be finishing second.

“There is no comparison. Rangers spent in January more than £40,000 per week (extra in wages) getting six or seven players in.

“That equates to (the weekly wage of) my full squad.

“It is testament to my players and the work we do here that we are still there.

“We are proud of the fact that we have finished second before.

“It is special for us to finish second and just as special to play in Europe next season.

“We want to make sure we are that team.”

Victory for the Dons tonight would eliminate Rangers from the runners-up race.

It would also secure European qualification for a fifth successive season.

Aberdeen have lost all three Premiership games to the Ibrox side this season and McInnes is desperate to end that dismal run in front of a crowd in excess of 18,000 tonight.

He said: “I am just delighted we have the chance to play them again because I would not like the season to play out without beating them.

“It would be the same for any team who have beaten us three times.

“Hopefully we can be better on the night and get the better result.”

Rangers recently appointed Liverpool and England legend Steven Gerrard as manager on a four-year deal.

Gerrard will start in the summer and Jimmy Nicholl, the former Dons No2, will be in the dug-out tonight.

Rangers attempted to secure McInnes as manager in December but he knocked back the Ibrox club.

He said: “We are delighted that we have an opportunity to finish second and it is in our own hands.

“To do that we are going to have to win the game tonight.

“Hopefully we can be good enough to do exactly that.

“From our point of view individually we want to bring a strong performance.

“I definitely have the players here that can deliver the performance needed.”

Aberdeen’s bid to finish Premiership runners-up for a fourth successive season hinges on an Old Firm double header with an away trip to champions Celtic looming on Sunday.

The Dons have lost all six games to the Glasgow two so far this season.

“It will be two teams fighting extremely hard for their own clubs tonight,” said McInnes.

“It is clear from Rangers’ point of view that there is going to be a lot of changes there.

“They are on to their fourth manager now in 18 months or so.

“Rangers have some very good players in their ranks and have recruited well.

“When you get down to the last couple of games, it’s good that you have something to play for. Hopefully we can clinch European football tonight.

“The time for reflection will be on Sunday night, hopefully on the back of doing what we set out to do at the start of the season.”