Derek McInnes relishing Motherwell ‘play-off’ game

Derek McInnes, right, hails hat-trick hero Scott Vernon after the match against Dundee United. Picture: SNS
Derek McInnes, right, hails hat-trick hero Scott Vernon after the match against Dundee United. Picture: SNS
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ABERDEEN manager Derek McInnes feels Motherwell deserve the chance to play for Scottish Premiership runners-up spot at Pittodrie on Sunday.

Motherwell need to beat Inverness at Fir Park tonight to stand any realistic opportunity of leapfrogging the Dons on the final day of the season.

The Dons piled the pressure on with a 3-1 victory over Dundee United at Tannadice on Tuesday - courtesy of Scott Vernon’s hat-trick - which took them four points clear.

But McInnes expects Motherwell to deal with Caley Thistle and he feels a play-off for second spot would be a fitting end to the season for both teams.

“We expect that we are going to have to get a result on Sunday,” McInnes said. “We felt we had to deal with our own business and not rely on other people. Maybe there has been a wee element of that creeping in.

“It was our first league defeat on Saturday for a long time but we have had too many draws along the way, which has got us to the situation where, because Motherwell are a good side, they kept chipping away at it and credit to them.

“Now we have a great chance to finish off the season with a bit of style and what a cracking match to play in. I think both teams deserve the opportunity in that game to finish second.

“It will be brilliant. Motherwell deserve that opportunity. They have a home game on Wednesday night and they are very strong at home, although I’m sure Inverness will have something to say about it.

“In my own head, I’ve been thinking it’s going to come down to this game. It will be a great spectacle for both sets of supporters.”

As well as pride and prestige, plus a later start in the Europa League qualifiers, second spot brings almost £250,000 more prize money than third place.

And that could help Motherwell manager Stuart McCall keep the bulk of his squad intact. McCall has already held talks with senior figures such as Stephen McManus, James McFadden and Keith Lasley about extending their deals although firm offers have yet to be made.

He said: “The guys who we have managed to get round to have given us the vibe that they are prepared to stay.

“With a few others it will be dependent on the European factor, just to give us an idea of the exact budget.

“But we are pretty confident a lot of the boys will be here for next season, which will be good.”