“It will be a very tough task on Sunday,” he said, speaking ahead of the Scottish Cup quarter-final clash. “Hibs are a determined team, a good cup fighting team. They were in the final last year and they battled their way there very effectively. I would think if you ask Pat Fenlon he would probably say his squad is better this season. He has had time to improve it. I would say our squad is better this season.”
The former Scotland boss did allow himself some measure of confidence the Dons can get a result, though. “We’ve got the addition of one or two good players,” he explained. “Niall McGinn has made a big improvement to the scoring potential of our team so I think it should be a smashing game. I hope it will be the game of the weekend and that we manage to get through.”
Skipper Russell Anderson shrugged off any further injury concerns after missing Aberdeen’s last two games. “My fitness is fine. I trained today and will train tomorrow so I should be fine for the game,” he explained. The 3-1 defeat by St Johnstone in Perth in midweek was, however, a source of worry to the defender. “The game on Wednesday summed up our play recently, I would not say the whole season, but in the games recently mistakes at both ends are costing us. We had chances to score and get a foothold in the game but did not take them and then gave away some soft goals. It is a bad combination to have and that is why we are losing games.
“We will have a great support down in Edinburgh. It is important we give them something to shout about,” Scotland cap Anderson went on. “They will be very enthusiastic before the game so we need to keep that going in the early stages of the match. We realise it is a huge game for Aberdeen FC. Nobody is underestimating how bit a game it is for us. It is a huge game for both teams.”
Fellow defender Mark Reynolds is expected to brush off an ankle knock and commented: “The recent form has been poor and people are talking about this statistic and that statistic but the league is still tight and a win in the cup on Sunday would be massive and would reignite the season and give us that second wind for finishing the campaign strongly.
“I think it is important you realise that you have to take it a game at a time. Just take the game that is in front of you and treat it like any other. But certainly from my own perspective you need to want the pressure of being able to step up to the big games and the big games should bring out the big players.”
Goalkeeper Dan Twardzik could take his place on the bench.
“Sunday is massive,” said Irish man Josh Magennis. “The three years I have been at Aberdeen I have been at Hampden three times and we have got beat every single time. It is easy for people to say in the press that we are going to do this or we are going to do that but I think by now the fans are sick of hearing that. Simply, we have to show up on the day.”