Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes is focused on delivering a performance regardless of Aberdeen’s Rugby Park record or recent form as he prepares to face a squad that has benefited from “huge investment”.
The Dons travel to Ayrshire on Wednesday on the back of three consecutive defeats since returning from the mid-season break, but they still sit in the cinch Premiership top three, a status they were accustomed to during eight years under McInnes.
“Every manager will do the same, they will look at the upcoming opponent, they will look at what’s available,” said the former Dons boss, whose team fought from two goals down to get a point at Fir Park on Friday despite having Alan Power sent off.
“But it’s important we concentrate on our own performance, regardless of what team is coming and what form they are in.
“What you would say is that Aberdeen have accumulated a very talented squad. There’s been a huge investment in that squad and you can see they have a lot of good players.
“Defeats come to all of us, it’s just about how you react to that. We feel we had a good reaction to going behind the other day at Motherwell.
“It’s now important that we try just to concentrate on bringing a big performance ourselves, regardless if our opponent is strong or otherwise.
“We just have to make sure we deliver a performance that we are happy with and gives us a chance to win the game.”
McInnes will get his first chance to end Killie’s 11-year run without a home victory over the Dons, a record he played a major part in.
The Ayrshire side have gone 17 games since beating Aberdeen, then managed by Craig Brown, on their home turf.
The Killie boss, whose side have won four Premiership home games this season, said: “We just want to try and maintain a strong home-win ratio. The vast majority of our points have come at home and it’s important we try and take the opportunity.
“Some teams we have a good record against as a club and others we don’t. We had a good record at Tynecastle and lost there. We had a poor record at Motherwell, someone told me we had lost six on the spin, and then we pick up a point.
“We just want to make sure that any team coming here don’t really enjoy the game, they find it tough, and the vast majority of games this season it’s been like that.
“But we are looking for more of a 90-minute performance, or 90-plus. We have shown even in the two games we have had since we came back, two second-half performances that you would expect from ourselves.
“When you are coming up against teams of Aberdeen’s quality, 90-minute performances are normally what it takes to give yourself a chance.”
With successive home games against Aberdeen and then St Mirren, Killie could propel themselves towards the pack chasing a top-six spot and European places.
But McInnes said: “It’s just about trying to get a win. Last time out here at Rugby Park we beat Hibs and we had to do a lot right to get the three points. It’s been seven or eight weeks, it seems an eternity since we played at home.
“We do enjoy playing at home and it’s important we try and utilise the opportunity that’s there for us with the two home games. We have had two away games and we wanted more from it.
“We recognise our home form has given us a chance to look above where we are at the minute but hopefully we can just deal with the game itself first.”