McInnes putting Aberdeen’s emphasis on getting quickly back to winning ways

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes. Picture by Darrell Benns

Boss Derek McInnes admits the Dons are hurting after their Ibrox defeat but insists the only way to kill the pain is to beat Kilmarnock.

Aberdeen host Killie tomorrow, looking to bounce back from the 2-0 loss at Rangers.

That defeat saw the Reds replaced in second spot in the Premiership by the Gers on goal difference.

For McInnes, a third straight defeat to Rangers this season is hard to take – but he wants the Reds to put that behind them and focus on Kilmarnock.

He said: “We are hugely disappointed and we are all hurting.

“We are disappointed with the result and that we didn’t do more in the game.

“But the emphasis is to try to get back to winning ways.

“We have a tough game as Kilmarnock were resting up on Wednesday while we were playing on a heavy pitch.

“We will dust ourselves down and the aim is to bounce straight back.”

McInnes hopes to have on-loan Manchester City midfielder Chidiebere Nwakali available to face Kilmarnock.

The 21-year-old Nigerian has agreed to join the Dons on loan until the end of the season.

However, he missed the loss at Ibrox and the 4-1 Scottish Cup defeat of St Mirren because his work permit has not been processed yet.

Any player who is over 16 years old and is not from the European Economic Area, which covers 32 countries aside from the UK, requires a work permit to play for a British club.

If a player has featured in at least 75% of his country’s competitive international games over the last two years, he will receive an endorsement from the Scottish FA.

Nwakali has yet to be capped at senior level for Nigeria although he was in the squad for November’s friendlies against Argentina and Algeria.

A three-man appeals panel weighed up whether Nwakali would contribute significantly to the development of the game at the top level in Scotland.

After the go-ahead, the work permit can then be granted. Aberdeen hope to have that completed for tomorrow’s game.

Nwakali is the second addition of the January transfer window following the return of Niall McGinn on a long-term deal until summer 2021.

McGinn was introduced as a second-half substitute at Ibrox.

Boss McInnes was disappointed with the result, but accepted his squad battled to the end.

He said: “There was plenty of effort and endeavour as always but we should have brought more craft and quality to the game.

“The positive part is at least we never gave it up and that has always been important to me.

“We kept going right to the death and if we had taken one of those four or five chances then you never know, we might have had a grandstand finish.

“But I am disappointed we didn’t score when we worked their goalkeeper so much on the night.

“Although some of the saves were at him and decent I still think we should be doing better in those situations.”