We are ready to bounce back with victory at Firhill says Dons skipper Shinnie

Returning skipper Graeme Shinnie netted the opening goal for Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup quarter-final.

Skipper Graeme Shinnie accepts the pressure is on Aberdeen to end their recent slump in form – but insists the Reds can handle the heat.

Aberdeen are now three games without a win as the season moves into the business end where there is little room for error.

A 1-1 Scottish Cup quarter-final draw with Kilmarnock at Pittodrie followed successive Premiership defeats to both Celtic and Hibs.

As a result of the winless run the Reds have slipped six points behind second placed Rangers and now face a tricky Scottish Cup replay at Kilmarnock on Tuesday.

The Reds’ status in recent years as Scotland’s second force is under attack and the club’s target of securing the Scottish Cup for the first time since 1990 is in the balance.

For Shinnie, pressure comes with the territory of playing for a club like Aberdeen.

It is constantly there from the need to win, the expectation of fans and also from the desire of players themselves to secure success.

Shinnie, 26, aims to prove the Dons are a side that do not buckle by seeing off Partick in Glasgow before reaching the Scottish Cup semi-final.

He said: “There is always pressure no matter if it is the first game (of the season) or a cup game.

“Especially at a club this size and with the supporters.

“The players also put pressure on themselves. We are a good team and all the players are at Aberdeen for a reason.

“We know we have that bounce-back ability.

“We need to go and show it and Partick is a game where we need to get three points on the board to gain a bit of momentum again”

Shinnie missed the defeats to both Celtic and Hibs having served a two-game suspension for going beyond the points threshold for bookings.

He returned for the cup tie and had an immediate impact with the opening goal in the ninth minute.

As we talked at Pittodrie Shinnie sported a large, bruised lump on his temple.

“I don’t know if it was a boot or an elbow,”he said.

“Ach,” he continued, “Run it off and get on with it.”

The weekend could open up the opportunity to narrow the gap on second placed Rangers as the Ibrox club are not in action until Sunday when they host defending champions and league leaders Celtic.

“We don’t look at it that way,” said Shinnie.

“We just want to win every game that comes round and the biggest game is the next one coming – at Partick.

“We have had a couple of frustrating defeats in the league and want to get points back on the board again.

“It is important to get back to winning ways in the league.

“The Motherwell game being off (due to heavy snow last Wednesday) was disappointing as we wanted to bounce back as quickly as we can.

“We have had a week to prepare for Partick and are looking forward to it.”

Aberdeen were on course to set up a Scottish Cup semi-final clash with Motherwell for the weekend of April 14 – 15 until a defensive blunder between Shaleum Logan and Kari Arnason led to a penalty.

The spot kick was converted by Kris Boyd.

Shinnie said: “I thought it was soft when I saw it, but it comes from our wrongdoing and that’s the most frustrating part of it.

“We were waiting for someone to take charge of it and (Jordan) Jones has got through with the ball.

“We made a mistake and they punished us. It was a disappointing end to the game in the last 30 minutes.

“When Kilmarnock got the goal, the momentum changed in their favour.

“I think maybe the reaction to when they scored wasn’t good enough. Kilmarnock pressed on more than we did which was disappointing but for large spells of the tie we were good. “

Shinnie won the Scottish Cup in 2015 as captain of Inverness Caley Thistle.

The target is to lift the trophy again – with the Dons.

He said: “We want to get back to Hampden. That is the motivation for us. There is still everything to play for.”

On his return from a two-game suspension Shinnie was utilised in the left-back position rather than his usual defensive midfield role. Left-back Andy Considine was out suspended. Shinnie was initially signed from Inverness Caley Thistle as a marauding left-back but has subsequently become a pivotal figure in the Aberdeen midfield.

He said: “I don’t mind where I play – I enjoy playing anywhere on the pitch.

“It was a different role for me at left-back compared to centre midfield but I scored and enjoyed the game, so it’s no different, really.

“Both positions are quite hard in terms of trying to push forward from defence and trying to do as much work as I can in centre mid.

“When you are in the middle you are trying to do as much work as you can, to get about the pitch, make tackles and get forward.”