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In-form Aberdeen out to make the most of semi-final shot – Derek McInnes

Aberdeen v Celtic – Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership – Pittodrie Stadium
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Aberdeen’s improvement this season has heartened Derek McInnes ahead of their rearranged William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against holders Celtic on Sunday.

The coronavirus crisis ended the 2019-20 season in March and meant the last-four matches were postponed until this weekend.

The Dons have started the Premiership season strongly, with only two defeats in 11 matches, and fought out a deserved 3-3 draw with champions Celtic at Pittodrie last Sunday which further boosted the Aberdeen boss.

McInnes said: “We are a team who have started the season with enough encouragement to suggest that we can have a good campaign and Sunday brings us an opportunity to showcase that.

“Obviously it is last year’s competition, but I think we earned the right to be here.

“We’ve beaten a couple of tough Premiership (opponents) to get here and now we are here it is important we make the most of it.

“I do feel, while we were improving last year when the season was curtailed, there is no doubt we are in a better place in terms of squad, in terms of level of performance, going into this game.”

However, while McInnes is aware of the perception that his squad is at its strongest for a while he would rather have tangible proof at the end of the season.

He said: “I have heard a lot of people have said that of late.

“I think maybe when they look at the bench a lot of time, look at the players who have not been available, I think it’s an easy thing to suggest.

“I do feel happy with the strength of the squad and we have overcome challenges already this season. We have overcome injuries and still been able to get results.

“But the true answer for that will only be at the end of the season.

“We had good squads previously that have done well for us, with good individuals within that.

“While we are all encouraged by the strength of this squad and how we started, you can only really assess that at the end of the season.

“We are encouraged by the start but the end of the season is the time to reflect on how good this squad is.”