Kilmarnock v Aberdeen: Johnston’s boys are ready

Allan Johnston. Picture: SNS

Allan Johnston. Picture: SNS

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Kilmarnock boss Allan Johnston does not expect Aberdeen will suffer a hangover from their jubilant League Cup celebrations.

The Dons players enjoyed a Parkhead party after lifting the club’s first trophy in 19 years with their penalty shoot-out win over Inverness at Celtic Park last Sunday.

Derek McInnes’ side now return to Scottish Premiership duty when they host Killie at Pittodrie on Saturday looking to cling on to second place.

But Johnston does not think McInnes’ men will be distracted following their success in Glasgow’s east end.

He said: “Aberdeen have some top players all over the park with a lot of pace. It looks like Jonny Hayes will miss out and hopefully that will be the same with Peter Pawlett.

“Their crowd will be right behind them after the cup final but I hope they’ve been partying a bit too hard after that.

“I’m sure Derek McInnes won’t let that happen. He will have them right up for it and make sure they carry on the type of performances that they’ve been putting in of late.”

The Dons are aiming to make it a season to remember after last week’s trophy triumph, with a William Hill Scottish Cup final place and the runners-up slot in the top flight still there to be claimed.

But Kilmarnock only have a battle against finishing in the relegation play-off spot to gee them up after last Friday’s 3-0 defeat to Celtic left them just three points above second-bottom St Mirren.

Johnston, though, claims he would be happy for his side to replicate some aspects of their Hoops defeat.

“We are going to have to play like we did in the first half against Celtic but this time for the whole game if we want to get anything against Aberdeen,” he said.

“Celtic are a different level from everyone else in this league but Aberdeen are definitely where they are on merit.

“It’s so tight down there at the bottom end of the table and the wins for Partick and Ross County last weekend makes it even harder for us.

“We haven’t picked up many points against the top-six sides this year but the boys are up for this one.”

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