Aberdeen: Derek McInnes says display against Celtic will influence cup final

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes
Derek McInnes's Aberdeen side have all but secured second place in the Premiership

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes believes a strong display against Celtic in the league will set the tone for when the sides meet in the Scottish Cup final.

McInnes says the level of performance at Pittodrie on Friday will have an influence at Hampden on 27 May.

"We've got to let Celtic know we're there and we'll be there in a fortnight's time," McInnes said.

"It'll be two separate games, but trying to bring a level of performance against Celtic is important."

Aberdeen all but secured second place in the Scottish Premiership with last weekend's victory over Hearts - due to their superior goal difference over third-place Rangers.

McInnes still wants his players to "have an edge" to their game against Celtic, who remain unbeaten domestically this season, in what he describes as a fixture with "real importance".

"They'll see us as a challenge," McInnes said. "There's a respect between the teams; they'll know we're capable of causing them problems on the day.

"But, by and large, they'll come here expecting to win. Because, when they're on the run of form they're on, that's what you do as a player and as a team.

"We've got to make them feel otherwise during the 90 minutes. We can do all the talking before about what we want to do, we can talk afterwards,

"I can be pleased with certain aspects of it, but during the game, we've got to go and do our work and do our talking."

Aberdeen captain Ryan Jack
Aberdeen captain Ryan Jack is an injury doubt for the Scottish Cup final

Aberdeen go into the game without captain Ryan Jack and midfielder Peter Pawlett due to injury, while Ryan Christie misses out because he is on loan at the club from Celtic.

Winger Johnny Hayes is also suspended and McInnes says he won't be resting any players with the cup final in mind, although younger players will be added to the squad for the game.

"The reality is we don't have too many options," the Aberdeen manager said.

"We've got 16-year-old Dean Campbell in the squad tomorrow night, 17-year-old Seb Ross, alongside Frank Ross and Scott Wright. That's where we are in terms of a squad.

"We don't have too many options to be resting players even if we wanted to. And it's dangerous to do that.

"Just to keep all my options open for the cup final, I've got to make sure players are getting minutes.

"Because, while we don't want to be going into the final carrying injuries, there may be a case that we are. So I've got to give myself enough options for that game and also to still try to win games in between.

"Ryan Jack's situation is as it was. It's going to be touch and go [for the final]. Peter was scanned on his Achilles yesterday and we're waiting on results for that. Both are a real risk for the final."

Scotland forward Shaun Maloney
Aberdeen are confident of signing Scotland international Shaun Maloney in the summer

Aberdeen are confident of signing Scotland international Shaun Maloney when his Hull City contract expires at the end of the season, but McInnes refused to elaborate on his recruitment plans for the summer.

"I don't want to comment on players at other clubs that have still got things to resolve at their own clubs," he said.

"We'll be linked with a lot of players. So I can't be sitting here commenting on every player we're going to be linked with.

"It's important we concentrate on the job in hand. If we sign players, we'll shout from the rooftops. We're keen to let everybody know when we sign good players."

Top Stories