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McInnes optimistic about Cosgrove fitness ahead of cup quarter-final

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes expects to have talismanic striker Sam Cosgrove in contention to line up against Hearts in Wednesday’s Betfred Cup quarter-final.

Cosgrove was only fit enough for a place among the substitutes against Livingston on Saturday after toiling with a slight groin strain in the build-up to the game.

Nevertheless, he was still able to climb from the bench to notch his 11th goal of the season, converting a late penalty to add to Andrew Considine’s first-half opener.

McInnes admits he may have started Cosgrove if the crunch last-eight clash at Tynecastle was not looming large on the horizon – followed by a trip to Rangers four days later.

“The truth is Sam was a doubt on Thursday and didn’t train,” said McInnes. “And while he was on the treatment table all week, Curtis Main was training well.

“With Sam having a strain on his groin, we were trying to manage his minutes over the next few games and we always knew he would give us something off the bench on Saturday.

“If we hadn’t had the midweek game then I might have thought more about starting Sam.”

Cosgrove’s availability is at least one silver lining amid an injury crisis that has robbed McInnes of Scott McKenna, Ash Taylor, Funso Ojo, Craig Bryson and Stephen Gleeson.

“It was tough out there for everybody but hopefully there are no more injuries,” added McInnes following the hard-fought triumph.

“There will be no more of those players coming back or available for Wednesday night so we will just try to go again and find a team and a performance that can get the club into another semi-final.”

Livingston will reflect ruefully on several spurned opportunities, notably Chris Erskine and Scott Robinson failing to score when clean through in the first half. Jon Guthrie then rattled the bar and post with a close-range effort after the break.

However, it was the cheap concession of Considine’s opener from a set-piece which irked boss Gary Holt.

He said: “Their first goal was bread and butter. When I was a player, if I had a job to do and my man at a corner scored – I’d get it in the neck. I made sure my man never scored and we need to get better.

“When we hit the bar and post and it came back out, I thought ‘that’s it’. I turned to the goalie coach and he said: ‘It’s one of those days’.”