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McInnes expecting Aberdeen will face stubborn Kilmarnock side in cup

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes expects to have to revert to breaking down stubborn opponents when his side face Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.

But the Dons boss is confident they have found the answers to taking on defensive rivals following their barren spell.

Killie forced a William Hill Scottish Cup fifth-round replay when they held Aberdeen to a goalless draw – the Dons’ fifth-consecutive game without a goal.

Aberdeen have since beaten Hamilton 3-1 in the Ladbrokes Premiership and were edged out 2-1 by Celtic despite a strong performance, after facing sides who were set up to attack.

But McInnes is not concerned about going back to playing a more circumspect opponent in Alex Dyer’s side.

“Kilmarnock have got a set way of playing,” McInnes said. “They have the blueprint from when Steve (Clarke) took over and any time we played them this season, they have been a bit of a mirror image of that.

“They are very good counter-attacking team who defend a bit deeper, defend in numbers. They are happy for the opponent to have the ball in certain areas of the pitch.

“So to answer your question, whether they come out and all of a sudden rip up that blueprint, the answer would be no.”

McInnes added: “I think the team in general is in a good place. Even the last Kilmarnock game, I thought we were very good. Conditions played a part and we didn’t work the keeper enough.

“The last three games have been a bit more like it. The team has settled down a bit, we have good options in the middle of the park and Curtis (Main) has come in and helped up front.

“Sunday once again we faced a team who try to play and bring the play up the pitch, and that gave us a bit of space.

“Our problems have been against teams who have sat in a bit more against us at Pittodrie, and St Mirren at St Mirren Park, we were finding it a challenge to break those teams down.

“But we feel as if we have enough players and enough answers in the building to break teams down and a lot of the boys are in a good place.”

McInnes’s team got praise for the difficulties they gave Celtic but he stressed they cannot always play the same way.

“A lot of people have said how good our press was but you can only press teams who want to play. This is what people don’t always get – if people want to just kick it forward, it’s difficult to apply pressure and put that press on.

“When we have had a chance to get after teams in recent weeks, our performance has been fine.

“Whatever the opponent wants to do – whether they want to sit in or take us on – it’s just important to find a result.”