Bouncebackability for Hayes

Aberdeen winger Jonny Hayes admits the prospect of playing Rangers has helped keep his mind off their Betfred Cup final disappointment.

The Dons travel to Glasgow for the second weekend running looking to bounce back from a 3-0 defeat by Celtic which saw them fail to hit the heights expected of them at Hampden.

But Saturday is another significant encounter as Aberdeen play at Ibrox for the first time since January 2012 and Hayes cannot think of a better occasion to overcome his cup final pain.

The Republic of Ireland international said: “It was obviously a tough one to take, thankfully we have a big game coming up on Saturday. It kind of takes your mind off it.

“The focus is on Rangers at the weekend so you haven’t really got time to dwell on it, thankfully enough for us.

“Whenever you have a bad game you always look to get back out on the pitch as soon as possible. Six days is long enough time but it is a big game, there is no getting away from how big it is and there is a rivalry there.

“So in a way the focus is taken away from the Celtic game and on to the Rangers game.

“In my opinion, going to places like Ibrox and Celtic Park, big games, it’s what you want, rather than playing at a small crowd in a small ground on a bad pitch. I would take Ibrox away every day of the week.

“I have played there before with Inverness and I always seemed to enjoy it. It’s a good pitch and a good atmosphere. When the fixtures came out, it was one I was looking forward to.”

Rangers are under pressure to bounce back themselves following a 2-0 midweek defeat by Hearts, which completed a full set of losses to last season’s top three Ladbrokes Premiership teams.

The Ibrox support could get edgy if their team do not take control early on but Hayes insists nothing will change from Aberdeen’s approach.

“No matter who we play, we always try to put the opposition on the back foot,” he said. “We always set out to attack early and if you can get an away goal it can be a big mental advantage for the rest of the game. It will be no different for us this time.

“They obviously just got promoted and they are up at the right end of the table so I think they are doing okay at the minute.”

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