DEREK McInnes admits he would be as confident as Ronny Deila about winning the league if Aberdeen had ten times the budget of their closest rivals.
The Dons manager understands why his Parkhead counterpart is so certain the Glasgow side can make it five-in-a-row this season as there are 20 million reasons behind it.
Deila has previously claimed he would deserve to be sacked if anyone other than the defending champions were to lift the title this season. The Norwegian followed that up by insisting earlier this week that Aberdeen won’t live with his team when they hit top form and that he didn’t care what they were doing anyway.
McInnes takes his team to Inverness looking to make it nine league wins in a row and protect their five-point lead over Celtic but is assiduously avoiding any rash statements about mounting a serious championship challenge.
However, the Dons manager admits he would be comfortable doing just that if he had the same financial advantage as Deila enjoys.
McInnes said: “I know he said they’ll win five in a row. I think that any manager in our league would be confident in saying something like that given the level of finances Celtic has when the rest of the clubs are working on playing budgets of between £1m and £2m and they’re working with £20m.
“I have no problems with that at all. Every manager has to concentrate on their own team and we’re no different.”
One thing McInnes is confident about is his players’ ability to respond positively to the disappointment of their first domestic defeat in midweek, when Championship side Hibs knocked Aberdeen out the League Cup.
He admits the 2-0 defeat was a setback but expects a strong response from the players. McInnes added: “It was disappointing. We wanted to do well in the cup but we know there will be defeats at stages of the season and, as we normally do, we’ll do our best to respond.
“In the main when we’ve put out our strongest team after a setback we’ve always managed to get a result. It doesn’t guarantee we’ll get a result at Inverness but a determination to get back to winning ways is usually associated with us.”
McInnes will be forced into two changes as Willo Flood is out for six weeks with a recurring ankle problem while Graeme Shinnie has a heel injury. Jonny Hayes will return from the start against his former club this afternoon after completing a two-game ban.
Inverness manager John Hughes – who is without Iain Vigurs (Achilles), Aaron Doran (knee), Jordan Roberts (groin), Gary Warren (broken leg) and Dean Brill (knee) and will assess the fitness of Tobi Sho-Silva – has admitted he will try to go easy on his players despite their stuttering start to the campaign.
The Highlanders have just one league win so far and sit ninth in the table. Hughes is worried his groans are affecting his squad. “I think the boys have been outstanding and maybe I have to sit back and reflect on exactly what they’ve done for me,” he said. “I’m finding my frustration starting to spill over on to the pitch and maybe affecting them. So I’ll have to lay off them and let them get on with it.”