Aberdeen v Hibernian: Derek McInnes wants recognition for Dons

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Derek McInnes says Aberdeen are “very proud” at being second in the Premiership in recent years

Derek McInnes believes his Aberdeen players deserve more recognition as they compete to finish second for a fourth season running.

The Dons are in a three-way fight with Hibernian and Rangers for the Premiership runners-up spot.

Hibs visit Aberdeen on Saturday and Rangers travel to Pittodrie on Tuesday.

“The players deserve a lot of credit, we’re up there again, we’re sitting in second spot at the minute,” said McInnes, 46.

“You hear people make comments about it’s been an underwhelming season for Aberdeen. A lot gets said about the teams round about us but we don’t seem to be getting that same recognition as a team for my players.

“So, hopefully by winning on Saturday, if we can, then people maybe recognise even come the end of the season there’s been good work done at Aberdeen again this year.

“We are very proud of the fact we’ve been the second best team in the country the last few seasons and we want to be exactly that again this year. To do that, we’re going to have to beat a couple of good teams.”

‘It’s very unusual but it’s also very exciting’

Since McInnes took charge in 2013, Aberdeen have qualified for the Europa League four years in a row and a second or third-placed finish will secure that for next season.

Finishing fourth could also secure a Europa League qualifying spot if Premiership champions Celtic win the Scottish Cup final against Motherwell.

“Between Hibs and Rangers, both have a lot of good players and there’s an equal challenge there,” McInnes said.

“We have the challenge with ourselves, it’s in our hands – as it is with Rangers and as it is with Hibs. It’s very unusual that, but it’s also very exciting and it adds to it all.

“The clear objective for us is just to go and win the next game and deal with what we need to deal with, don’t be dependent on another.

“We have got something really to play for. We haven’t secured second, we haven’t secured European football.”

Gary Mackay-Steven scored a hat-trick as Aberdeen beat Hibs 4-1 earlier this season

Hibs lost to Aberdeen in this season’s first two encounters but Neil Lennon’s side beat the Dons at Easter Road in February.

“I said at the start of the season I thought they would be up there and everything they’ve done since then has reinforced that,” said McInnes of Hibs. “They’ve been very strong.

“I don’t think it’s a must-win game for both teams but it would certainly help our cause by winning the game.

“The game here [winning 4-1 in December] was probably as good as we’ve been. I remember Neil’s comments about their second-half performance at Easter Road when they beat us 2-0 deservedly so, he said that was as good as they’ve been this season.

“I expect it to be tight. I think there’ll be a lot riding on the game.”

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