McInnes sets cup goal

Aberdeen v Dundee Scottish Premiership Pictured is Aberdeen's Stevie May celebrating scoring the first goal of the game Picture by DARRELL BENNS Pictured on 19/08/2017

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has urged his players to maintain the standard they have set in recent games as they bid to reach the last eight of the Scottish Cup this weekend.

The Dons host Cham-pionship side Dundee United at Pittodrie on Sunday in the fifth round of the competition and are strong favourites against Csaba Laszlo’s side but McInnes insists United’s current status in the second tier does not make Sunday’s encounter a routine game for his side.

He said: “We want to kick on in 2018 and have a really strong second half of the season. The Scottish Cup is important to us but we know Dundee United will not be coming to Pittodrie to let us walk over them.

“We’ve got to earn the right to reach the quarter-finals, just as we had to in the last round against St Mirren and we know we’ll need to maintain the levels we’ve shown in the last three games.

“We’re really pleased with what the players have given us in the last three games. We were on the ropes after the Rangers defeat but we’ve shown in the last three matches how much we care and how motivated we are to do well at this club.

“We’re in a good place just now. It’s a difficult pitch to play on but we’re handling it well and as pleasing as it is to score 10 goals in the last three games we feel there is a lot more to come from us.”

Stevie May returns to the squad for Sunday’s cup tie and McInnes is hoping to see a continuation of the recent form following 10 goals and maximum points from the last three league matches.

Nine points from the last three games has taken the Dons clear in second place and cut the gap on leaders Celtic to eight points and the Dons boss believes the credit should go to his players.

He said: “It is important we don’t look too much at the league table.

“We’ve picked up nine points from the last three games but it is the type of run we have been on in the past, so we shouldn’t be too surprised but the players deserve the credit for having the focus and the drive.

“We came up against Kilmarnock who had a free week and were fresh then faced Hamilton who had a free week while we were slogging it out at Dingwall in midweek.

“The energy levels and motivation from the players to get the job done pleases me and we’re looking forward to Dundee United now.”