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Defiant boss Derek McInnes insists finishing third would be a “fantastic achievement”.

Aberdeen's Ash Taylor competes with Christian Doidge during the Scottish Premiership match against Hibernian.
Aberdeen's Ash Taylor competes with Christian Doidge during the Scottish Premiership match against Hibernian.

Manager Derek McInnes insists finishing third would be a ‘fantastic achievement’ for Aberdeen amidst mounting criticism.

The pressure is on McInnes to end a slump in form at Hibs today.

Ahead of kick-off, McInnes, talking at Easter Road prior to kick-off, underlined that he ‘loves’ and ‘believes’ in Aberdeen and is determined to haul them out of their recent dip.

The pressure is on McInnes following a crash in form that has yielded just two wins in the last nine matches, with no goals scored in the last three.

“I love my time here and I believe in this club.

“I wasn’t born an Aberdeen fan or brought up an Aberdeen fan.

“But I love this club.

“This is so important to me to finish third this season.”

Derek McInnes

McInnes insists he accepts the pressure – but it will not faze him.

He also refused to underplay the importance of finishing third in the Premiership this season.

Hibs leap-leapfrogged Aberdeen into third in the Premiership midweek when McInnes’ Reds crashed 2-0 to Livingston at Pittodrie.

McInnes said: “I love my time here and I believe in this club.

“I wasn’t born an Aberdeen fan or brought up an Aberdeen fan.

“But I love this club.

“It is so important to me to finish third this season.

“I hope my team go and show what they are capable of.

“We are not a bad side.

“We have let ourselves down on a couple of occasions.

“By and large we have been okay although I know we have not had a lot of wins.

“We have been searching for that added attacking threat and tried to make signings.”

Aberdeen’s Joe Lewis ahead of kick off against Hibs

Should Aberdeen fail to stop their slump today the pressure will ramp up more on McInnes.

McInnes said: “You sign up to be a manager and you deal with what is ahead of you.

“There has been pressure on me from day one.

“Dealing with pressure, dealing with disappointing results is part of the deal for an Aberdeen manager.

“If you don’t deal with that side of it well you are as well not applying for the job or being the manager here.

“We understand the criticisms but I need to remind people if we win today we go third.

“We stick together as a team.

“We know the importance of trying to win today. We will start to feel better about ourselves and go third in the league.”

McInnes has made two changes to the starting XI for the clash at Hibs from the side that slumped 2-0 to Livingston.

One is enforced with attacker Ryan Hedges ruled out for the rest of the season with a pectoral injury that will require surgery on Friday.

Winger Connor McLennan drops to the bench in the other change for McInnes in a game of huge importance in the race for third spot.

Coming into the starting XI are Matty Kennedy and Dylan McGeouch.

It is McGeouch’s first game time since starting the 3-3 draw with Celtic on October 25.

McGeouch had been sidelined by injury but returns to action at Easter Road.

Aberdeen’s Dylan McGeouch ahead of kick off against Hibs at Easter Road.

McInnes said: “I look at our competitors today Hibs and third place for them is clearly vitally important.

“They have resisted a lot of offers in the window and see the importance of finishing third, as we do.

“We have always prided ourselves in being that team up there.

“We cannot lose sight of that as a club and team – finishing third is still a very big achievement for us.

“I think Hibs will be desperate to finish third and it will be a significant step forward for them if they can do it.

“We should not lose sight that third would still be a fantastic achievement for my players and our club.

“That is what we are striving to achieve.

“It might not have the same feeling if we do achieve finishing third as it would do to Hibs because of where we have been in the last wee while.

“However finishing third for us is vitally important.”

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