Derek McInnes: Aberdeen defends 'big game' record before Rangers semi-final

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'We lose big games because we play more of them'
Scottish League Cup semi-final: Aberdeen v Rangers
Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Date: Sunday, 28 October Kick-off: 16:30 GMT
Coverage: Listen live on Radio Scotland & online; text commentary on BBC Sport website & app

Derek McInnes has defended Aberdeen's record in "big games" before Sunday's League Cup semi-final with Rangers.

The Dons have reached six last-four ties, three finals and won one trophy during his five-year tenure.

Across all competitions under McInnes, Aberdeen have beaten Celtic five times in 24 attempts, and Rangers twice in nine matches.

"We do lose big games only because we play more big games. And we win big games," he told BBC Scotland.

"It's an easy one to get thrown at you when you lose a big match or a lot is expected of you. But it doesn't rear its head when you do win big games or deal with what's in front of you.

"This is our seventh semi-final in five years. Three cup finals, always got into Europe. No other team apart from Celtic has made as many finals or semi-finals in recent years as us.

"There's loads of big games we've been dealt, coped with, and got the desired result."

Rangers 'a harder nut to crack'

Aberdeen will take on a Rangers side in Sunday's late afternoon kick-off that have had a similarly faltering start to their league campaign.

While the Pittodrie club sit in an unfamiliar berth down in seventh, their Glasgow opponents are just two places further up the Scottish Premiership table.

However, Rangers' record unbeaten run in Europe, and the manner in which they have performed against the likes of Villarreal, offer caution to McInnes.

"Rangers are now fitter, more organised, with more direction," said the Aberdeen manager.

"They are a harder nut to crack. There was always a fragility about recent Rangers teams, and we'll need to work really hard to get at this Rangers team under Gerrard.

"Steven has dealt very well with the European games this season. Certainly it's only a start, but it's an encouraging start for him."

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