Derek McInnes admits his Aberdeen side are up against it when they face Rangers at Pittodrie on Wednesday night – but challenged his players to take their recent good form into the match.
Saturday’s 2-1 win over St Mirren means the Dons have won four and drawn one since their heavy defeat to Celtic, and McInnes reckons that kind of form gives them a chance – despite admitting the Ibrox side are better than his.
He said “We’ve one defeat in the last eight which came against Celtic, and four wins in the last five. Since the Celtic defeat we’ve knuckled down and got on with the job in hand.
“The form of the players, and their determination, has been far better, and it’s much needed at this stage of the season.
“Both Rangers and Celtic are playing at such a good level at the minute. Rangers are a better team than us – they’ve got better players – but we can win the game and it’s important my players believe that.
“Funso Ojo won’t make it, and Craig Bryson will be touch and go.”
Saints boss Jim Goodwin admitted he is still searching for a way to improve results for his side, who are only ahead of St Johnstone at the bottom of the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership table by virtue of goal difference.
“I think we probably caught Aberdeen by surprise because they probably expected us to set up quite defensively but we did the polar opposite because we’ve tried that in previous games away from home certainly haven’t won any of them,” he said.
“I couldn’t be happier with the overall performance, but I can’t keep coming in speaking to you guys and have our fans read the papers with me harping on about the same old story.
“We need to do something about it as a group, collectively, myself included. I’m trying to change formation, personnel, and do things differently. I think we’re going in the right direct but we’ve had far too many hard luck stories and that’s the bottom line.”