Midfielder Funso Ojo insists boss Derek McInnes made the right call to rest him for the 1-0 loss to St Johnstone – as he is fully fit for the cup.
In the immediate after-math of the midweek loss to Saints McInnes admitted he gambled with some player selections with today’s Scottish Cup fifth round tie against Kilmarnock in mind.
Dropping summer signing Ojo to the bench was one of them.
The Belgian confirmed he suffered a hamstring problem on the eve of the game but would still have been willing to play Saints.
Ojo was ruled out for 10 weeks earlier this season after suffering tears to both hamstrings.
McInnes decided to rest him and the summer signing watched from the sidelines as the under pressure Reds failed to score for a fourth successive match.
He said: “I felt something the day before the St Johnstone game and woke up with it on Wednesday.
“So I thought I would let the physio know and get some treatment. I am happy that the gaffer was responsible enough and looked at the long run to pull me out of the game.
“For me as a footballer I would have just said let me just go in. But that would certainly would not have been the smart decision. So I am happy he rested me.
“I think if we had won that game no-one would have said anything about it.”
Aberdeen’s season has suffered a slump since the winter break with just one goal in five matches, in a 1-0 cup defeat of League One Dumbarton.
He said: “After the game the mood was down and no one was happy about the way we played and the result.
“The next day you come in and we have a cup game coming where we can win a big prize for the club. So everyone turns that switch and looked forward.”
Supporters booed after the loss to Saints and McInnes admitted players’s confidence has been affected by recent form.
The scrutiny on McInnes and his players will increase if they exit the Scottish Cup today.
He said: “The easiest way to fix that is to just get a goal. It could be a goal out of brilliant play where everyone stands on their seats and starts clapping and saying I have never seen anything like that before.
“Or it could be the most ugly goal you have ever seen. Confidence is something hard to get back if you are lacking it. I don’t think there is anything you can do at home, in training – it is something that just happens.
“After you get that confidence back and look back on what you have done you probably haven’t done anything different. It is something that just comes.”
Ojo is set to return to the starting line up today as Aberdeen bid to take another step towards ending the 30 year wait to lift the Scottish Cup.
The summer signing revealed McInnes’ speeches about the importance of cup success has fired him up for the trophy bid.
He said: “I know how much the Scottish Cup means to the gaffer and the club.
“It is talked about a lot and that is why It means a lot to me.
“Seeing the gaffer talking about it brings the fire into me as well and I want to go for it.”
The commendable 0-0 draw at Ibrox aside, the Dons have been booed by their supporters in three of the last four matches.
Today the Red Shed initiative will return to the Merkland Road stand and Ojo has urged supporters to get behind the team.
He said: “The initiative in the cup games with the Red Shed behind the goal is a big difference for us players. I watched the game from the sidelines on Wednesday and noticed it was quiet.
“First of all that is because we don’t perform like we want to and the fans want to. There is not much people need at the moment to start mumbling when they are not happy. In the Dumbarton cup game it was different because there was so much support.
“Even though it we only won 1-0 the performance going forward with the ball was better and we had more attacking threat.
“That starts from the stands as well as the confidence comes from what I call the 12th man.
“I don’t know if they call the crowd the same here for the fans. That is why I think the game against Kilmarnock will be different.
“The fans pay for their season ticket and have every right to have their opinion.
“However it is my opinion that it would benefit us more if we had the support instead of sometimes negativity.”