Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes says he has added confidence going into next week’s Scottish Cup semi-final after watching his side refuse to accept defeat against Celtic yesterday.
Lewis Ferguson netted an injury time penalty as a thrilling game finished 3-3, with the sides due to lock horns again at Hampden this Sunday.
The Dons had led twice through a Ferguson spot-kick and a Ryan Hedges goal, but were pegged back by strikes from Callum McGregor and Leigh Griffiths.
A Ryan Christie penalty put Celtic on the cusp of victory, only for Ferguson to convert the game’s third penalty and his second in injury time to earn the Dons a share of the spoils.
Celtic will take on Lille in the Europa League on Thursday, while the Dons have a free week to prepare for their date at Hampden.
McInnes said: “We are really looking forward to that game when it comes around.
“I felt it was a game we could win prior to today’s game and I believe that even more so now.
“I said prior to the game that it wouldn’t change anything for next week, but if we were to have a positive result and performance it would definitely not do us any harm.
“That is probably where we are.
“We missed an opportunity to win, which we need to say, but it is the perception with the way it finished.
“When you have managed to score a late equaliser, it is a far better feeling than when you lose one.
“There was enough in the performance to be encouraged by and I will have a few more options for next week.
“The substitutions are important for all teams this season and having so many good players available next week is very important.
“I think it is a game we can win and I think it is a fantastic opportunity.”
McInnes singled out midfielder Ferguson for his role in helping the Dons earn the point.
The former Hamilton Accies player took his tally for the season to nine with his two spot-kicks and the Dons manager believes it is only a matter of time before he is called up to the senior Scotland squad.
He said: “I’m trying to keep Lewis a secret at the minute. I think he will play for Scotland, it is just when.
“I always try to promote my players when I have a conversation with international managers, but I have never been one to try to do that through the press as they have enough on their hands.
“Scotland are blessed with good midfielders and we are very blessed to have Lewis here.
“It is only a matter of time before he gets involved in the international set-up.
“He is a very important player from the 21s and I believe he will be one of the ones who comes through that group into the full international stage at some point.”