Aberdeen midfielder James Maddison has warned Inverness they will be mistaken if they assume today is a good time to play the Dons.
The Betfred Cup finalists make the trip along the A96 eight days before they run out at Hampden against Celtic.
But Maddison’s only thought is to get three points and maintain second spot in the Ladbrokes Premiership. The on-loan Norwich player, right, said: “Everyone inside the dressing room is just speaking about the Inverness game.
“Most managers will insist their players only look at the next game because if you start speaking about games further down the road you will lose your focus. We know we can’t do that any week at this level of football and especially up at Inverness because they are a side who will punish us if that is the case.
“Inverness are probably feeling this is a good time to play us with the cup final in mind next week. I can assure you everyone is focusing on three points on Saturday and then we will move on.”
With a fully-fit squad for Dond boss Derek McInnes to choose from, and Jayden Stockley having taken advantage of a rare start with a classy winner against Partick Thistle last time out, Maddison knows competition for places is at its peak at Pittodrie.
“The players selected know they have to perform if they are to play in the final,” the 19-year-old said. “That is the case every week. Everyone needs to put in 100 per cent to keep their place in the team.
“Aberdeen is a massive club and we have got a really good squad of players here as everyone knows. The quality of some of the boys in training who are not in the team at the moment is fantastic. They are all pushing hard. We all know we have a jersey to fight for.”
Inverness Caledonian Thistle defender Brad McKay believes their recent form will ensure there is a touch of fear for visitors Aberdeen.
Caley Thistle lost 3-0 at Celtic Park before the international break but that was their first defeat in nine Ladbrokes Premiership matches.
That sequence started with McKay’s debut in a 1-1 draw at Pittodrie and the former Hearts and St Johnstone player said: “That was the start of a good run,” the 23-year-old said. “It was a good point away from home considering the players they have.
“We’ve proved we can go toe-to-toe with the big boys. We’re the only team to take points off Celtic, we ran Rangers close and we should have beaten Hearts. We’ll go out on Saturday and give them a game.
“When I first arrived, the first two games were Aberdeen and Celtic. I know what they’re like and what to expect. We’ve both got genuine quality in the team and I think they’ll be fearing us as well.”