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McLean believes Dons have the quality to pip Rangers and Hearts in race for second

Aberdeen's Kenny McLean
Aberdeen's Kenny McLean

Aberdeen midfielder Kenny McLean believes his side possesses more than enough quality to beat Rangers in the race to finish best of the rest in the Scottish Premiership.

The destination of the title is already clear with Celtic, who defeated the Dons 1-0 on Wednesday, firmly out of sight with a surely insurmountable 25-point advantage at the top of the table but the contest to finish second looks more likely to go the distance.

The Dons are two points behind Rangers but victories this afternoon against Partick Thistle and in their rescheduled match with Motherwell on February 15 will take Derek McInnes’ side above Mark Warburton’s men, even if they beat Ross County today.

The Dons established themselves as Scottish football’s second force while Rangers worked their way back up the divisions following their financial implosion and McLean says they have no intention of budging.

He said: “That is where we want to be.

“We should be looking to take maximum points when teams come up to Pittodrie.

“I don’t think we have anything to prove.

“Rangers have come up and I think everybody expects them to finish second because of their budget and because they brought in some big name players.

“We will have our say in the matter and we know we are good enough to affect that.

“It is all about what we do.

“There is a long way to go. We can’t dwell on the defeat to Celtic.

“Rangers will do what they have to do but we know we have the quality to affect the league.”

Ian Cathro’s Hearts showed they are not ready to give up on a second-place finish with a crushing 4-1 victory against Rangers midweek that took them to within six points of the Dons.

Asked if he was surprised by the emphatic nature of Hearts’ victory, McLean replied: “Slightly but it is not up to us to look at that.

“We look at ourselves.

“People are talking about Rangers and Aberdeen but Hearts and St Johnstone are also good teams.

“There is a long way to go and we are feeling confident.

“We know what we want to do from now until the end of the season and we are in a good position.

“The Hearts result was surprising but we need to focus on ourselves as it is all about what we do.

“If we do our jobs right then we will be where we want come the end of the season.

“We need to pick ourselves up after the defeat against Celtic on Wednesday and go again.”

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