Rangers favourites for second, says Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes

James Maddison scores against Rangers
James Maddison's free-kick gave Aberdeen victory over Rangers in September

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes reckons Rangers are favourites to finish second in this season's Premiership but is backing his side to finish runners-up.

The Dons travel to take on Mark Warburton's Rangers on Saturday.

McInnes' men have finished as champions Celtic's nearest challengers in the last two campaigns.

"I certainly feel my team is good enough to finish second and we aim to try and do that," said the 45-year-old former Ibrox player.

"I still think Rangers, just by the sheer nature of what they can do in January as well, will be favourites to finish second but we certainly feel that second spot is something that we can certainly aim for.

"Everybody seems to assume that the title is done and dusted and it'd be difficult to argue with that but certainly there's enough excitement going on underneath that.

"Rangers have got very good players. We're well aware of the strengths of Rangers. They've got a strong squad, good options. Mark's done a fantastic job with the team."

Derek McInnes
McInnes has urged Aberdeen to improve upon their performance at Hampden last weekend

Both the Aberdeen and Rangers go into Saturday's meeting in Glasgow off the back of defeats.

The Dons were beaten 3-0 by Celtic in Sunday's Scottish League Cup final and Rangers dropped to third in the league by losing 2-0 at Hearts on Wednesday.

"Both teams will see it as an opportunity to bounce back," said McInnes.

"It's our job to get on with the next game. We wanted to show we're better than what we did do on Sunday. We all agree that we're a better side than what we showed.

"They [the players] have not been feeling too good about themselves, it's important that we get round them and support them because there's still so much to play for.

"It's not an end-of-the-season defeat, there's still two-thirds of the league campaign to go, we've still got the Scottish Cup to look forward to.

"There's no bigger game for our support than Rangers at Ibrox. There's no better game for us going into this one. It gives us the opportunity to hopefully try and go and get three points at a difficult venue and get that winning feeling again, because that's why we're all here. We're all here to work, to win.

"If we win our games in hand, we go second in the league.

"Almost a quarter of our league campaign in one month - eight games in December. It's going to need complete focus and really having to concentrate on the job in hand. Hopefully, we can start December off with three points."

Brian Grant celebrates
Brian Grant (far right) was on target when Aberdeen last won at Ibrox in 1991

Aberdeen have not won at Ibrox in just over 25 years but beat Rangers at Pittodrie in September.

"We fancy ourselves to win a game, wherever we play," McInnes said. "We back ourselves. We're a good side. We didn't show that on Sunday but we are a good side.

"We've only lost to two teams this year and the game at Hamilton [losing 1-0] was down to a dodgy penalty decision.

"There's been a lot right about the team this season and there's going to be a lot more right about us going forward and a win at Ibrox would be fantastic.

"I thought we were fortunate to win the first game [against Rangers] at Pittodrie, We were clinical and we carried a threat. Rangers had it too much their own way that day but we managed to find a way to win.

"Rangers have had a couple of late wins up until the other night. That's a good sign of a team."

Top Stories

Get Inspired Activity Finder

Run by the BBC and partners

Find ways to get active near you: