Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes believes Saturday’s quarter-final against St Mirren can bolster his club’s league aspirations as well as their hopes of Scottish Cup glory.
The Dons remain one point behind Motherwell in the race to finish third in the Scottish Premiership after the Steelmen missed their chance to extend their lead on McInnes’ side when they lost 2-1 to St Mirren at Fir Park on Tuesday.
Aberdeen head to Paisley to face a Saints team which also knocked Well out of the cup last week and McInnes hopes a semi-finals place can galvanise his side both in their attempts to win the cup for the first time in 30 years and to finish third and secure European football for a seventh consecutive season.
He said: “The cup is so important. No one knows that more than me.
“Our club, our fans and our players need a cup run. Not just for the feelgood factor but for the financial side of it, too.
“It also can give a shot of adrenaline to your league campaign if you have semi-finals and finals to look forward to. We have benefited in the league from that before and hopefully we can again.
“We have a squad that is getting stronger because we have players coming back. We are also getting back to a level of performance that is more akin to the standards that we have set for ourselves in past years.”
The Dons head to Paisley having failed to score on their two previous visits in the league there this season and McInnes expects Jim Goodwin’s side to be in confident mood.
He said: “We will have to fight for space and be tenacious against a side we know has a real organisation about them.
“But our tenacity and competitiveness has been there and it will need to be there again.
“We showed it at Kilmarnock last week where my players never gave it up.
“I thought the energy of my team was still apparent in extra time. We looked really strong physically and mentally and it paid dividends.”
McInnes and his players celebrated with the 1,200 Dons fans who made the trip to Rugby Park in the fifth-round replay and with the Red Army having sold out their allocation for Paisley on Saturday the Aberdeen manager hopes a vociferous support can help carry the team to a Hampden semi-final.
He added: “The fans and the club came together as one after the Kilmarnock game. We have needed that connection and big performance all season.
“Performances are not perfect, but we are getting back to the standard that I expect.”