HAMILTON player-manager Alex Neil insists it should not be considered a shock if his promoted side knock out holders Aberdeen in Wednesday’s League Cup quarter-final clash at Pittodrie.
Accies’ impressive 11-game unbeaten run came to an end with a 2-0 Premiership loss at Dundee on Saturday.
It was the Lanarkshire side’s first taste of defeat since the opening day home loss to Inverness, but they remain on top of the table.
And as he looked forward to taking on an Aberdeen side they beat 3-0 at New Douglas Park just before the trip to Dens Park, Neil said: “Look at the first defeat of the season against Inverness, we bounced back from that.
“We did it numerous times last season. So I don’t think we have anything to prove.
“We have shown that we can compete with anyone in the league so we have no fear going into cup games.
“Before we might have looked at teams who are above us and who are bigger than us as a huge scalp. I don’t think we see it like that now.
“I think we see it as a level playing field and if we play as well as we can we have a chance of winning the game.
“I won’t be looking to rest anyone. I am looking to try to get the best team that I think have the chance of winning the game.”
Indeed, Neil, 33, believes it will be the cup holders who will have a point to prove after their recent humbling at Hamilton, who were promoted into the top flight following a play-off win over Hibernian last season.
The midfielder said: “The pressure will always be on the bigger team.
“They got beat here not so long ago and will have a point to prove.
“I can imagine their fans won’t be happy that they lost to a smaller club like Hamilton and they will be looking to put that right.
“The players have personal pride as well but it is the same as us.
“We lost on Saturday and we will be looking to bounce back.”
Accies keeper Michael McGovern, meanwhile, admits his ambition is to play in a winning cup final team.
The 30-year-old Northern Ireland cap picked up two Scottish Cup winner’s medals in 2004 and 2007 with Celtic, both times as an unused substitute, and is looking to go one better this season.
He said: “It is an ambition to get a winner’s medal for actually playing in the final. It would be brilliant.
“I have been in a few semi-finals and finals over the years and not quite got that winner’s medal, apart from sitting on the bench.
“So it would be great to finally get a winner’s medal.
“But that is a long way down the line. The focus is just on the Aberdeen game.
“They will want to continue on their success in the cup last season and they will be probably looking for a bit of revenge on us.
“We have to guard against that. We have to concentrate on our performance and if we perform to our maximum we are capable of getting a result.”