Derek McInnes: Hearts rejected Aberdeen’s request to train at Murrayfield

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Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes claims Hearts have turned down his request to test his team out on the Murrayfield pitch.

The Jambos are staging Saturday’s clash at the home of Scottish rugby while the finish touches to their new £12million main stand at Tynecastle are completed.

But McInnes felt his Dons side should be allowed to limber up at the Edinburgh venue before facing Craig Levein’s side.

That appeal, however, was rejected by the Gorgie side and the Aberdeen players will now have to wait for their pre-match warm-up before getting a closer look at the Murrayfield playing surface.

“We asked the question if we could train but were told we couldn’t,” explained McInnes.

“I do think there maybe should have been a case for us to be allowed to train there, as it is a rugby stadium.

“We’re not going to go to war over it and start mumping and moaning about it. We just thought it might have been worthwhile.

“We will prepare as normal, we’ll go to Edinburgh, stay in a hotel then familiarise ourselves with the surroundings. There will be no problems and we’ll focus on the game.”

Aberdeen will take a huge 8,000-strong travelling support to the capital for the weekend clash.

Yet McInnes expects the 67,000-seater stadium to be less than half full.

It will make for a much different atmosphere compared to the raucous welcome visitors are traditionally given at Tynecastle.

But the Aberdeen boss is not sure the eerie ambience will enhance his side’s chances.

“It’s unusual,” he said. “I seem to be getting asked more about the venue than the actual game, which I understand.

“But for me it’s about the game and we need to make sure we’re fully concentrated on winning it.

“It’s quite unique having the opportunity to take so many supporters to a game at Hearts when normally those tickets are at a premium.

“The latest figures for the fans heading down are incredible – but it’s important we get a result for them.

“It’s a good opportunity for everyone to say they were there that day but for us we want to make it a winning memory and carry on our good run.

“I don’t know if playing the game at Murrayfield will benefit us as the players and myself enjoy going to Tynecastle for loads of reasons, including the atmosphere.

“I think having so many in the ground will help but it will still be half full at best, so it won’t have that same electric atmosphere Tynecastle gives you.

“I don’t think it will make the game any more easier or difficult.”

Meanwhile, McInnes says Gary Mackay-Steven will be fit for action on Saturday despite having been treated for hypothermia after his drunken river plunge.

The former Celtic winger had to be rescued from Glasgow’s River Kelvin by firefighters after a late-night drama as he celebrated his side’s August 26 victory over Partick Thistle.

“He’s been training all week, for the last five or six days absolutely fantastically,” said the Pittodrie boss. “He’s thrown himself into his training and getting in about things.

“I think it’s been a good release for him to get back to work.”

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