Derek McInnes knows the importance of making a key signing this month if Aberdeen are going to keep the pressure on Celtic in the race for the Premiership title.
A Dons victory against Dundee tonight would leave them no more than six points adrift of Ronny Deila’s side when the defending champions travel to Pittodrie on Wednesday week.
Aberdeen have actually picked up one point more than their rivals since the last meeting at Celtic Park in October but their manager is convinced they need to strengthen the side to make deeper inroads.
Celtic have already done exactly that by paying £1.5 million to Midtjylland for Denmark international defender Erik Sviatchenko, while Rangers and Hibs have shown their ambition to win promotion by boosting their squads.
McInnes would love to do likewise as a statement of intent ahead of Celtic’s visit to show the Pittodrie club are just as determined to do all they can to achieve success.
“At times, you can see the benefit of bringing in a player who could help you in January,” the Aberdeen manager said. “Look at the Championship, you see Rangers and Hibs trying to strengthen because they see the importance of trying to get over the line and to get them that promotion that brings success.
“You saw Celtic during the week, they brought in a player which shows again the gulf between them and the rest.
“The fee and the boy’s wages would equate to my full footballing budget so that shows the gulf of what we are trying to do.
“Teams who want to have success see the importance of bringing players in in both windows. We should never shy away from that as a club. It is important we look and see what is there.”
The chances of making that happen should be boosted when Paul Quinn completes an expected return to Ross County that has been put on hold until after tonight’s match.
The central defender, who scored the winner against Celtic earlier this season, is needed as cover for Mark Reynolds, who serves a one-game suspension after last week’s red card at Dingwall.
Quinn’s move will free up some money but what McInnes would really like is the finance to make a similar signing to a year ago when he brought Kenny McLean from St Mirren for £300,000.
The midfielder was an immediate impact signing, which is what Aberdeen really need to have any chance of improving on last season’s second-place finish.
“He was a good signing,” said McInnes. “We felt we could have waited until the summer but I felt if we had waited we might have lost out or have been in fierce competition with others.
“We did that with Kenny last year and he has gone on to show what a great asset he is for the club. He has shown everybody his worth because he has been terrific.
“He was a signing that we felt could come in and improve the team.That is where we are and we would love to make another signing like that, and if we can’t then we will go with what we have. I don’t want to just make a signing, I want to make a signing that will not only do now but in the longer term.”
Strengthening the midfield and finding a strike partner for Adam Rooney remain the priorities for McInnes after being linked with Partick Thistle’s Stuart Banningan and loan moves for Wigan’s Don Cowie and Southampton’s Sam Gallagher.
Captain Ryan Jack and fellow holding midfielder Willo Flood won’t be back in action until the end of next month and definitely miss the home double header starting tonight against Dundee, followed by the visit of Celtic.