Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes insists the Scottish Cup has to be the target of any Dons manager.
They start their Scottish Cup campaign this season at home to Stenhousemuir this afternoon, intent on making another challenge for the trophy they last won in 1990.
The Dons were runners-up to Celtic in 2017 and fell at the semi-final stage last year, going down 3-0 to Motherwell at Hampden Park. Aberdeen have only lost one cup game to lower-league opposition under McInnes, against Hibernian in the 2015-16 League Cup.
Preparation has been done on the Ochilview outfit, helped by youngster Seb Ross spending time on loan there this season.
McInnes said: “It’s always important to us – it’s a trophy we want to try and win. That has to be your intention if you’re managing here. We’re at home against lower-league opposition and we’re firm favourites to go through, but people will be able to remind me of the time Stenhousemuir beat Aberdeen, who were a really strong team.
“There will be upsets in every round and we need to make sure we give Stenhousemuir every respect. We have a good handle on them, with Seb Ross being on loan there, and we’ve watched a few games as a staff. We feel we know what we’re facing and it’s about us being very professional, making it a tough game for them and hopefully winning the game.”
Mark Reynolds, Tommie Hoban, Shay Logan, Stevie May, Niall McGinn and Gary Mackay-Steven are all fit and available for today’s game. Mikey Devlin is expected back in full training next week.
McInnes reserved special praise for Reynolds, who has come back from a cruciate ligament injury, sustained in a pre-season game against Cove Rangers in July, quicker than expected.
He said: “It’s sod’s law; we were without so many defenders last month. Now we’ve got Shay, Tommie and Mikey back. Tommie and Mark have been out a long time. Mark has done remarkably well and I’ve got nothing but credit to him.
“He came back into full training just before Christmas and has trained every day since. It’s a bit much for us to expect him just to came straight back in but it’s great to have him about.
“He’s an infectious boy and a great supporter of his team-mates when he’s not involved. He’s an important member of the squad and the dressing room. He deserves everything he gets and it’s great to have him back.
“Tommie started the season well with the Burnley games and scoring at Easter Road. It feels, certainly with both of those lads, like new signings.”