Aberdeen 'must earn right to Scottish League Cup final glory'
Derek McInnes has played down suggestions that the odds are stacked heavily in his Aberdeen side's favour for Sunday's Scottish League Cup final.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager John Hughes has suggested his team are hampered by having to play Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership on Wednesday.
"Would I have wanted a league game in midweek before a cup final?" said McInnes. "Of course I wouldn't have.
"But, let's not kid ourselves, nobody is going to give us the trophy."
Hughes also pointed out that Aberdeen would have the majority of the fans at Celtic Park.
But Dons manager McInnes stressed: "We are going to have to earn the right to win it.
"Just as we have earned the right to be in a semi-final of the Scottish Cup and earned the right to be second in the league, we have earned the right to get to the League Cup final and, if we are going to lift a trophy, we are going to have to earn the right to win it."
Hughes had told the print media that he was angry at the Scottish Professional Football League's decision to schedule the game at the Caledonian Stadium ahead of the final.
However, he told BBC Scotland that the match would give his side a chance to get successive 5-0 defeats - by Celtic and Dundee United - out of their system before the match in Glasgow.
It also now means that midfielders Greg Tansey and Marley Watkins will be able to serve their suspensions against the Edinburgh side instead of in the final after their weekend dismissals.
"I am a wee bit confused to be honest, because I am sure he said last week that the players would rather play than train all week," said McInnes of his opposite number's mixed messages.
"Also, he has two players available, which ordinarily wouldn't be the case."
McInnes did concede that being able to spend the week at their St Andrews training base would help ease the pressure created by their 40,000 fans heading to Glasgow.
"Everybody is full of anticipation and excited, so it is good to get away and prepare," he said.
"We have felt it the last few weeks, with the queues around the stadium.
"I'm banging on to the players to focus on the job, league business and Scottish Cup business, but it has been difficult for them to do that and I accept that."