Aberdeen can draw on big-game experience for semi-final – Derek McInnes
|Scottish Cup semi-final: Hibernian v Aberdeen|
|Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Date: Saturday 22 April Kick-off: 12:15 BST|
|Coverage: Live on BBC One Scotland & online; commentary on BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Sport website|
Manager Derek McInnes is urging Aberdeen to use the pain of losing the League Cup final to their advantage when they meet Hibernian in Saturday’s Scottish Cup semi-final.
The Dons lost 3-0 to Celtic at Hampden in November and McInnes said: “I think you can use any disappointment.
“You have got to get as much experience as possible to deal with occasions.
“We have had a lot of big-game experience in recent years. I think the European stage has helped us.”
McInnes has taken Aberdeen to four semi-finals in his four years at Pittodrie, winning two and losing two.
“It is only by revisiting semi-finals and finals that you get the hang of it and get used to it and feel comfortable within it,” he added.
“That’s where we are. We are back here again and hopefully we can overcome Hibs and get to another final.”
Twin targets for Dons
Aberdeen last lifted the Scottish Cup in 1990 and McInnes believes that many fans would put ending that drought ahead of finishing second in the Premiership for a third successive season.
“Absolutely; I get that.” said the 45-year-old. “We have finished second for the last couple of seasons.
“We look as if we could do that this season again – still work to be done, of course.
“But I totally understand and I think the players want to put themselves in a position to try and be remembered as a Scottish Cup-winning team, as I do as manager.
“I don’t want to prioritise. We are in a position where we want to achieve both.
“We want to finish second and we want to win the Scottish Cup. We have got a tough game ahead of us on Saturday, but somebody has got to win it and we want it to be us.”
Trophy holders Hibs are in the division below, but McInnes expects a tough test from the Championship winners.
“I don’t think there is a lot between the two teams,” he said.
“We view Hibs as probably a top-six side. I think with the level of experience they have got, they are the cup holders, they are winning most weeks and they have got that level of confidence.
“For us to expect not to have a tough game in a semi-final would be wrong.
“I think we are a good side on our day. Hopefully, we can bring the performance we are capable of and, if we don’t, we just make sure we get through.”
No distractions for Jack
Meanwhile, captain Ryan Jack, out of contract at the end of the season, says he remains undecided on his future and his sole focus this week is on the semi-final.
“I have not made any sort of decision, as of yet,” said the 25-year-old midfielder, who was recently linked with a move to Rangers.
“The manager believes in me and the changing-room believe in me and obviously, when things like that come out, it is maybe difficult for other players and the manager – and difficult for myself.
“But I am not going to let that distract me. My focus is on Aberdeen from now until the end of the season and I will give everything I can to help us secure second and to hopefully win the cup.”