Niall McGinn says Aberdeen can muscle in on Celtic treble-treble bid

Even though the transfer window does not close until 11 o’clock tonight, Aberdeen winger Niall McGinn is convinced the Dons already have enough strength in depth to make them the best bet to prevent Celtic from claiming a third successive treble.

Niall McGinn celebrates during Aberdeen's cup replay win over Stenhousemuir. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS

The 31-year-old believes manager Derek McInnes has assembled a squad capable of challenging for the title but also says the Scottish Cup is the trophy he prizes above 
all else.

Aberdeen moved a step closer to Hampden with a convincing 4-1 victory at Stenhousemuir in Tuesday’s fourth-round replay, leaving the League One strugglers with little else other than fond memories of their 1-1 draw at Pittodrie, although the Northern Ireland star argues that scoreline was misleading.

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“We treated both games in the right manner and we were disappointed not to have scored more goals at Pittodrie but were delighted with how we started at Ochilview,” he said. “We created chances and we felt very comfortable in that first half. After the break we just saw the game out, although they put us under a bit of pressure and scored from a set piece. That was probably the one upsetting aspect for us, not keeping a clean sheet.”

Under McInnes, Aberdeen have reached four major finals in six seasons, although their only success came in the League Cup against Inverness Caledonian Thistle five years ago.

“Ever since I’ve been at the club it’s always been important to do well in the cup competitions,” said McGinn, pictured. “We’ve been to many semi-finals and finals and, although we’ve won the League Cup, it would be great to go one step further in the Scottish Cup – that’s the trophy I’d most love to win with Aberdeen.

“It’s obviously satisfying to have a home tie and just as good to have come through this game unscathed, with no fresh injuries. It was a good all-round display and we’ll focus on Queen of the South when that comes around because we have big games against Hibs and Rangers before then.

“Right now we’ve got to dust ourselves down and get on with the league action on 
Saturday.

“We’re still very much in the mix at the top of the table and that’s where we want to be. Having a great December has put us in a strong position but it’s all about keeping that momentum going and picking up maximum points from these next few games.”

McGinn was also encouraged when he looked at the teamsheet on Tuesday and realised who would not be starting.

“You only have to look at our bench at Stenhousemuir – we had Stevie May, Gary Mackay-Steven, James Wilson and Stephen Gleeson on it and they’re all important players,” he said. “Our squad is very strong at the moment, even though we’re currently missing key defenders in Scott McKenna and Mikey Devlin.

“Mark Reynolds is ready to play again after injury but he’s been unlucky that we’ve had matches on artificial pitches recently because that’s held him back a bit. But we’ve shown that we’re more than capable of competing at the top end of the table.”