ABERDEEN manager Derek McInnes believes producing a good performance against Celtic on Friday is an important factor in their William Hill Scottish Cup final preparations.
The Dons all but sealed second spot in the Ladbrokes Premiership last weekend after restoring their nine-point lead over Rangers and 23-goal advantage with three games left.
But McInnes admits showing they can compete with the unbeaten champions can give them a pre-Hampden boost.
“I think it will be more the performance rather than the result,” he said. “We will go into the cup final feeling we can win that regardless of what happens on Friday night.
“The performance from the team and the players is important. We have got to let Celtic know we are there, and will be there again in a fortnight’s time at Hampden.
“It will two separate games played on two different pitches, different competition, but bringing a level of performance against Celtic is important.”
McInnes will be without Ryan Jack (groin) and Peter Pawlett (Achilles) along with the ineligible Ryan Christie, and he admits the injured pair are both at risk of joining the Celtic loan player on the sidelines at Hampden.
So McInnes will not have the luxury of resting players ahead of the May 27 showpiece.
“The reality is we don’t have too many options,” he said. “We have three players out. We have 16-year-old Dean Campbell and 17-year-old Seb Ross in the squad alongside young Frank Ross and Scott Wright.
“We’ve got tight numbers. We have three unavailable on Friday night and we will have three unavailable for Ibrox during the week because Jonny Hayes is suspended.
“So we don’t have too many options to be resting players even if we wanted to, and I think it’s dangerous to be doing that.
“To keep all my options open for the cup final, I need to make sure players are getting minutes.
“We have to make sure I give myself enough options for that game and also try to win games in between time.”
Meanwhile, McInnes refused to comment on reports linking him with a move for Hull player Shaun Maloney, but he confirmed he was looking to make a splash in the transfer market as he faces losing the likes of Pawlett, Niall McGinn and Jack in the summer.
“If I lose players, and we expect to lose at least a couple, then we will try to bring in good players, try to get the squad stronger again,” he said.
“As strong as this squad is, I’m confident we can improve the squad, and by doing that we have to bring in good players.
“There is scrutiny on the recruitment staff, myself and the board to make sure that’s the case.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe