Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes believes last season’s ‘Great Escape’ against Alloa Athletic is enough warning to his team tonight’s League Cup third round match against Livingston is fraught with danger.
After 120 minutes failed to produce a goal against the second-tier Wasps in August last year, the Dons scraped into the next round by winning 6-5 on penalties before going on to win the competition and end a 19-year wait for silverware.
McInnes’ men are heavily fancied to overcome John McGlynn’s Championship side at Pittodrie tonight but the Aberdeen manager insists there will be no complacency.
He said: “The game against Alloa became very problematic. We started brightly, but the goal didn’t come. We picked up a couple of injuries and suddenly it became hard work to get a result. Alloa had a couple of opportunities to score in extra time and that was probably as difficult a game as we had in winning the cup. We didn’t treat them lightly, but it shows what can happen if you are not on top form.
“Livingston will be looking forward to coming here and taking on a team from a division above. There is no pressure on them and they are a good side so we know we will need to be at our best.”
For that reason McInnes will not use the match against lower league opposition to give some of his fringe players game time.
The Dons manager will choose his strongest team as the Pittodrie side begin their defence of the League Cup.
He added: “The cups provide Aberdeen with a real opportunity to be successful and I wouldn’t do anything to put that at risk. I will put the team out I think is the strongest team to beat Livingston. We saw what the League Cup win meant to everybody in the city and at the club last year. The experience the players had should drive them on to want to experience that again. You try to paint the picture in the early rounds of having that day in the sun.
“Cup final day is always special and the players have to see the bigger picture in these early rounds.”
Aberdeen will be without Niall McGinn for the match after he suffered a hamstring injury in Saturday’s 3-0 win against Ross County.