Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin has warned his players not to look beyond Partick Thistle as the Dons bid to reach the last four of the Premier Sports Cup.
A place in the semi-final of the League Cup awaits the Dons if they can beat the Championship leaders at Pittodrie on Wednesday.
Aberdeen will be favourites to progress against lower league opposition but Dons boss Goodwin knows his side will have to work to beat the Jags at Pittodrie.
He said: “We won’t be underestimating Ian McCall and the Partick boys.
“I’ve managed against Ian’s teams in the past whether it was at Alloa or St Mirren and they’ve always been an incredibly difficult team to play against whether it was Ayr United or Partick.
“We’ll do our due diligence, analyse Partick and look at how we can we can exploit them.
“But if we start looking towards Hampden too early we could be in for a shock so the message will be to show them the utmost respect, prepare properly and be good to go.”
Dons defensive record must improve
The Dons go into their quarter-final buoyed by a fine 2-0 win against Hearts at Pittodrie on Sunday.
Goals from Duk and Vicente Besuijen helped Aberdeen bounce back from their 4-0 loss to Dundee United at Tannadice with the three points lifting the Dons up to fourth in the Scottish Premiership.
Goodwin is pleased to see his side rediscover the knack of scoring goals but with 15 goals conceded in 10 league matches knows his team must improve its defensive record.
The Aberdeen manager said: “Our goals for column is brilliant. That’s 20 in the league now which is the third highest in the Premership.
“But our goals against column is pretty poor as a group. We spoke about that during the week which is why we opted to go with a back three against Hearts.
“I thought we were still pretty attacking which is what we want to be in front of our own fans but we still looked pretty secure at the back.
“Maybe we hadn’t been prior to the game on Sunday.
“The two goals are extremely satisfying and there were some good individual performances but how we reacted collectively to keep a clean sheet is most pleasing.”
Duk ready to for starting role
Cape Verde international Luis ‘Duk’ Lopes impressed on a rare start with a goal and an assist in the win against Hearts and Goodwin believes the former Benfica striker is ready to make a consistent contribution from the starting line-up.
He said: “I’m delighted to Duk on a personal note. He came in late for pre-season and has been playing catch-up but we’re comfortable now with the level of fitness he is at.
“We didn’t bring him to the club to be an impact player off the bench. We believe he has great potential and it’s up to the coaching staff and me to help him.
“Hopefully in the years to come the Aberdeen fans will see the best of him.”
Dons expected to be along same lines for cup tie
While pleased with his side’s powers of recovery against Hearts on Sunday Goodwin knows the levels must be maintained against Partick on Wednesday.
He said: “I don’t want to get too excited about the result as we know how quickly you can get brought back to the earth in this game.
“We want to be a good possession-based team which attacks.
“We’re a young squad so there will be dips and we have to be patient when they come our way. We don’t get too high or too down in the dumps after a result.
“We took a lot of criticism and it was justified but we can’t enjoy the Hearts result too much as we’ve got a huge game to look forward to on Wednesday and hopefully nobody has picked up any significant injuries from the game.
“Jonny Hayes picked up a slight calf strain on Saturday and Wednesday is probably too soon for him. Hayden Coulson will probably be back next week.”