ABERDEEN manager Derek McInnes insists Falkirk’s plastic pitch will not be an issue when the sides meet in the League Cup this evening.
The Bairns are one of a number of clubs in the lower divisions with an artificial surface. But, while keen for his players to become more accustomed to a different playing surface ahead of the third-round tie, McInnes does not feel it will impact greatly on the result.
He said: “We are training at Forfar, which is the same pitch, so we will get the feel of it.
“But the pitch won’t have any bearing on the result, let’s make that clear. Win, lose or draw – it won’t have any bearing on the result and nobody from Aberdeen will be saying otherwise.
“It is important to try to get the players used to it. It is a bit different to what we are used to. But it won’t affect the outcome.”
The feelgood factor is high in the Dons camp following their win over Inverness at the weekend and McInnes wants more of the same tonight.
He said: “It’s important that we maintain a level of performance. I don’t think any team has out-worked us or totally outplayed us this season yet and that’s pleasing.
“The players showed both sides to the game at the weekend. I felt, in the first half especially, we were very brave on the ball, very slick and showed a lot of pace and good invention.
“The second half was more about other qualities and digging in and grinding out the result that we all wanted.
“In the cup, hopefully we can show all the qualities needed to get through.”
On the challenge posed by Scottish Championship side Falkirk, McInnes added: “Every game in the cup is potentially tough. Falkirk are a good side and they had a good result against Dundee at the weekend.
“We’ve had them watched over the last wee while and we are well aware that it is a tough match for us. At the same time, we expect it to be a tough match for them as well.
“Regardless of whether we play in the league or the cup, we like to think it’s our own efforts that will get us through, so we’ve got to concentrate on ourselves.”
Niall McGinn (ankle) and Barry Robson (knee) both have a chance of returning from injury for the Dons, but Falkirk will be without midfield powerhouse Ollie Durojaiye who broke a metatarsal bone in his foot on Friday. Experienced former Dundee United and St Johnstone defender David McCracken comes into the reckoning for a starting place after getting half an hour of game time under his belt, following injury, in Saturday’s win over Dundee.
Falkirk technical director Alex Smith, who managed Aberdeen to League Cup glory in 1989, is looking forward to the tie. “It is a meeting of some of the best home-grown talent in the country,” said Smith.
“We will have six players in our line-up that came through our academy and Aberdeen will have the likes of Joe Shaughnessy, Ryan Jack, Peter Pawlett and Cammy Smith in theirs.
“This game could well be decided by whatever group of youngsters plays the best. Hopefully it will be the Falkirk ones that do.”