We all see importance of trying to get back to Hampden says Aberdeen boss McInnes as he looks to reward fans

Derek McInnes.

Boss Derek McInnes wants to book a Hampden return to reward Dons fans braving the Beast from the East for today’s Scottish Cup quarter-final.

Lifting the trophy for the first time since 1990 is one of McInnes’ key targets for this season – having come so close last year in losing the final showpiece 2-1 to Celtic.

In that continuing quest Aberdeen face Kilmarnock at Pittodrie today in a cup tie that was only given the go-ahead after consultation with the SFA, Police Scotland and the two competing clubs.

Areas of Scotland have been in lockdown for days as snow blizzards battered the country.

Almost all of the Scottish senior league fixtures were wiped out and the clash with Killie was in doubt.

However, the Reds’ cup tie was given the go-ahead at 12.30pm yesterday.

With the Siberian snap expected to continue McInnes accepts reaching Pittodrie could be difficult – and is ready to make it worthwhile.

He said: “Hopefully there are three cup games remaining for us as we want to end up winning the Scottish Cup.

“I’m glad the Kilmarnock game is going ahead.

“There was a bit of doubt about it and the first thought was to ensure that both Aberdeen and Kilmarnock supporters would be safe travelling.

“Safety is the prime concern.

“Kilmarnock seem to be happy to be travelling and we are happy that the ground will be ready. Our staff deserve credit for getting the stadium ready for the game.

“With the SFA and Police Scotland also happy then the game goes ahead.

“Everyone has that personal choice on whether they go to the game.

“I understand it will be difficult for a lot of supporters to get to Pittodrie but for those that can then hopefully we can get a winning performance.

“We all see the importance of trying to get the club back to the national stadium and into a semi-final again.”

A 1,300-strong travelling Kilmarnock support were today set to travel to the Granite City for the tie.

The Dons have already experienced disruption due to the severe weather this week.

McInnes, his back-room staff and a 20-strong playing squad travelled south on Tuesday night for a Premiership game against Motherwell.

At 9.30am the SPFL made the early call to postpone that game, with two other top-flight games also called off.

It was the right decision as the M80 between Glasgow and Stirling became grid-locked from 3pm that day with thousands of people stranded in their cars overnight.

Aberdeen managed to get back north just before the worst of the weather began.

McInnes said: “We prepared to play at Motherwell and went down for Tuesday night.

“It became clear on Wednesday morning the game was not going to take place.

“We just have to be grateful for small mercies that we managed to get on the way back to Aberdeen again before the motorways closed and the journey got too complicated. Or we could have been stuck down in Glasgow.

“We managed to get back to Aberdeen in decent time.”

The Dons have taken shelter from the snow with regular training sessions in Aberdeen Sports Village, just a few minutes walk from Pittodrie.

McInnes is confident the Reds are ready to face an in-form Kilmarnock side.

He said: “We have trained indoor for the last couple of days which is the norm when conditions are like this. Having the Sports Village so close to the stadium is a real godsend for us.

“The preparation, other than having to train indoor which is not ideal, has been absolutely fine.”

Aberdeen will face a Kilmarnock side revitalised under the guidance of former West Brom manager Steve Clarke.

The Rugby Park side have lost just twice in their last 17 games, ironically both to Aberdeen.

Under Clarke, Killie have beaten both Celtic (1-0) and Rangers (2-1) in recent months. In six games against Celtic and Rangers this season the Dons have failed to secure a solitary point.

However, under McInnes Aberdeen boast an exemplary record against Kilmarnock with 14 wins from the last 15 games.

Regardless, McInnes will have his side on red alert about their dangers.

He said: “Although we have managed to beat Kilmarnock on a couple of occasions recently the sign of a good team is how they react to that defeat.

“Kilmarnock have gone on unbeaten runs again since we defeated them.

“They are a good team and have produced real consistency recently.

“We know Kilmarnock’s capabilities and strengths so we will be aware of that.

“However, we also need to have the bravery and confidence to try to make the game go our way.”

Aberdeen played at Hampden four times last season but lost out on a quick return visit when crashing out 3-0 to Motherwell in the League Cup quarter-final this term.

Now he wants back to the national stadium.

He said: “The positive is we want to get back to Hampden and then we are one win way from competing in another cup final.

“That is a real incentive for us all.”