Tony Docherty: Ibrox victory would be the perfect response to cup final frustrations

Aberdeen assistant manager Tony Docherty speaking ahead of the match against Rangers.
Aberdeen assistant manager Tony Docherty speaking ahead of the match against Rangers.

Aberdeen assistant manager Tony Docherty believes the Dons can bounce back from their Betfred Cup final disappointment by inflicting the first home defeat of the season on top of the table Rangers tonight.

The Dons have played Rangers twice since Steven Gerrard took over at Ibrox, following up a 1-1 draw on the opening day of the season with a 1-0 victory in the semi-final of the Betfred Cup.

The Dons, who have stayed in the Central Belt since Sunday’s defeat by Celtic to prepare for the match, can cut the gap on leaders Rangers to six points with a game in hand with victory this evening.

Docherty said: “Obviously their home form has been good and they carry a goal threat.

“But our last three games against them have been good. We drew at the business end of last season and again at the start of this one and then we won the semi-final.

“We’re undefeated in the last three games and undefeated against a Gerrard team. They are a good team and their home form is strong but we’re a good team with strengths.

“It’s important you analyse the opponent and work out your strengths and their weaknesses.

“We go to Ibrox as a team high on confidence as the level of performance we put in the other night at Hampden will win most games in the Premiership.

“If we can just be a bit more clinical in the final third then we can be a match for this Rangers team.”

Gary Mackay-Steven will miss tonight’s match after suffering concussion following a collision with Celtic defender Dedryck Boyata at Hampden but Docherty believes 19-year-old winger Connor McLennan can prove an able deputy for the Scotland international.

He said: “All the young kids are there on merit – if you are good enough you are old enough.

“We see them every day as they always train with the first team.

“We look at the opponent and decide the best strategy and they are judged the same as everyone.

“Connor was so positive and all he wanted to do was to get at the full-back.

“If he’s the right type to play against an opponent he’ll be considered and if used he’ll do a good job.

“We say to the young boys all the time that to be an Aberdeen player you have to have that mentality and make sure every performance is right up there.

“The young ones have that mentality. They come in with a lack of fear. I wouldn’t say they have a lack of respect because they do respect their opponents but there is definitely a freedom of thought.

“It’s something we promote and it’s great they have it.”