League Cup tie bigger than Rangers clash says Aberdeen's James Maddison

James Maddison can't wait to get his teeth into the intense rivalry that exists between Aberdeen and Rangers.

James Maddison is fully focused on Aberdeen's cup clash with St Johnstone. Picture: SNS.

However, the teenage star believes Thursday’s Betfred Cup quarter-final against 
St Johnstone is more important than Sunday’s showdown with the Ibrox club.

The 19-year-old, who scored in Sunday’s 3-1 Premiership win over Dundee, said: “I've been told a lot about Rangers v Aberdeen games – so I better watch what I say! I've heard it's a massive game. History speaks for itself. The lads are really up for that.

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“I know the Rangers game is coming up, but the focus firstly has got to be on Thursday's game. That game is just as big, if not bigger. Any team will tell you that getting silverware is what it's all about.

“That's what you play football for, to get success. So a League Cup quarter-final is something to look forward to.

“We knew how big this week was going to be, three games in quick succession, going to a tough place like Dundee to begin with. It's never easy and now there's the League Cup quarter-final, followed by Rangers on Sunday. We've started it really well so, hopefully, we can continue things.”

Maddison, pictured, has been given a free role behind Adam Rooney by Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes and has given the Dons an extra dimension in the last third. However, he can also mix it in the middle of the park. “I enjoy that side of the game,” he said. “I played in 40-plus games for Coventry in League One and that's not too dissimilar. There are a lot of hefty challenges down there. So I've kind of been used to it.

“With the way I play, I like to keep the ball and tie it to myself so I'm obviously going to come in for some treatment, sometimes rough.

“The manager has just 
given me some freedom really, to go and express myself. It's not quite a free role because I still had a responsibility out of possession when Dundee had the ball to defend.

“But it's just having that licence to go and be free and show everyone what I can do.”

After three draws, Aberdeen desperately needed the win at Dundee and Maddison believes it will the catalyst for a rewarding week.

The teenager added: “We can definitely use this result as a springboard. This is what we've been waiting for, that sort of win and scoring three goals. We looked a threat. I think even though we went 1-0 down, we were always in control of the game.

“It might not have looked like that from the side but on the pitch it felt like that.”