Skipper Joe Lewis today warned Aberdeen the race for Europe is getting too close for comfort.
The Reds trail third-placed Motherwell by three points having lost further ground when drawing 2-2 at Kilmarnock.
Since returning from the Premiership winter shutdown in January the Dons have taken just six points from a possible 24.
At the heart of that dismal return is Aberdeen’s rocky home form having lost four straight Premiership games at Pittodrie this year.
Lewis is determined to end that barren run in the Granite City against Hibs tomorrow.
With just nine Premiership games remaining the stopper admits the showdown with the Easter Road club is massive.
And he warned against a back-lash after Hibs’ 3-1 Edinburgh derby loss to rivals Hearts.
He said: “It is getting tight and we have a huge game against Hibs.
“It’s massive and Hibs will look to bounce back from losing to Hearts, which they won’t have been pleased about.
“However, we will also want to kick on from a good second half at Kilmarnock.”
Fundamental to the bid to end that poor home league form and keep up the push for third will be striker Curtis Main.
The summer signing has wrestled the starting slot from leading scorer Sam Cosgrove when McInnes utilises just one centre-forward.
Main scored in Aberdeen’s last match at Pittodrie, a 2-1 loss to Ross County.
Fellow striker Cosgrove did not travel to Kilmarnock due to a back spasm and remained in Aberdeen to work with physios.
He is still a doubt for tomorrow’s match.
Lewis said: “Curtis has been different class for us.
“He hasn’t got the goals in the last couple of games but he’s led that line brilliantly.”
Main was signed on a two-year contract last summer having left Motherwell when his contract expired. The previous season Main had run riot in scoring twice for Well to beat Aberdeen 3-0 in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden in April 2018.
Main suffered a frustrating start to his Pittodrie career, due partly to the form of 23-goal striker Cosgrove.
Now Lewis reckons he has rediscovered the form that terrorised the Dons at the national stadium.
The keeper said: “We have a bit more to our attacking game at the moment.
“It’s the player I remember playing against us when he was at Motherwell.
“I didn’t look forward to facing him then and I know the centre-halves didn’t either.
“He really does give the opposition a real handful.”
January signing Matty Kennedy, secured for £70,000 from St Johnstone until summer 2023, will also be pivotal tomorrow.
Kennedy supplied the cross that led to Connor McLennan’s equaliser against Kilmarnock on Wednesday.
Lewis said: “Matty has been different class since he’s come into the club.
“His attitude off the pitch is the same as it is on the pitch. It’s positive.
“He’s a likeable lad and has been really good for us.”
For the second time in less than a month Aberdeen fought back from behind at Rugby Park to salvage a result. Last month they hit two late goals in the final minute of extra-time to defeat Kilmarnock 4-3 in the Scottish Cup fifth-round replay.
Lewis said: “We were disappointed with the goals we lost, but again we showed character to come back from it.
“We saw it before at Rugby Park and I thought we’d kick on and win the game at 2-2. But both teams had chances.
“We couldn’t find that final piece. We went there to win the game, but being two goals down, we cannot be too disappointed.”
There was understandable frustration within the Aberdeen camp at the opening goal at Kilmarnock.
Referee Alan Newlands awarded a penalty for hand-ball by Ash Taylor.
However, the centre-back turned his back to the shot with his arms tight by his body. The ball struck his back.
Lewis said: “It was two poor goals lost, although I think Ash had his arms by his side at the penalty.
“I watched it again and he’s turned with his arm in. It wasn’t up in the air. It hit his arm, but I don’t know where else he could put it and that was harsh on him.”
Although beaten twice at Rugby Park the 32-year-old keeper made a number of vital saves.
He produced a superb one-handed diving stop to tip a Stephen O’Donnell volley over the bar.
Lewis said: “I was pleased with the save from Stephen O’Donnell.
“I was pleased to make some saves and play a part in winning a point.”