Gary Mackay-Steven Update
“Gary’s away back home now. He went to hospital after the game, but they let him out as they thought he was ok to come out and we had two doctors at the hotel. He was concussed and sick that night when he got out the hospital, but apart from a sore head he’s making a recovery and it’s important we monitor him and make sure he’s ok. He’s back home and he left yesterday afternoon and considering everything he was in good sprits and he just needs to recover from it. We’re hopeful he’s on the road to recovery now.
“The medical team are keeping us advised on that (protocol). He has to go through certain tests to make sure he’s ok for the games that are coming up and certainly he’s ruled out of this one. We’ll speak to the medical staff after and see how he is with regards to the weekend, but we’re keeping close monitoring on it.
“There’s a process and I don’t know the exact ins and outs of it, but the medical team are on top of that and he’s been closely monitored and we’ll get him back when he’s ready.
“It’s part of the game and it happens. These incidents are unfortunate and it was very brave of Gary I must say going for the header, but it was a clash of heads and it was accidental. It’s just one of these things you unfortunately get in professional sport and you just recover from it. As long as he’s ok and we had a similar incident with Andy Considine not that long ago and he was monitored by the team. We had to go through all the processes of being ready to come back and play first team football and he’s never looked back. It’s something that happens in this game and you just have to recover from it.”
Spirit In The Camp
“It’s very good. There’s of course disappointment at losing a cup final, but we’ve stayed together as a group since the final whistle and have done everything together. We’ve focussed on the positivity of how good the performance level was and I think that’s important. The boys all realise that. That process started straight after the game and Monday we recovered and trained together for this game. There’s a real good feeling about them because they realise that performance against most teams in this league will win a lot of games. You’re always trying to get that little bit better so we realise as good as we were we need to be that little bit more clinical to get the goal that wins the game. There’s a real positivity about the camp.
“The activity has just been around one another. We came back to the hotel and we’ve been together 24/7 to be honest so it’s just important you make sure the boys are all together. Every session that we’re doing there’s a focus on A) the Cup Final that’s just been played at B) most importantly the game that’s just coming up which demands that full concentration and focus.”
Size Of The Rangers Game
“Rangers are in good form and have a great home form where I think they’ve only drawn once this year against Kilmarnock so we realise that. We can’t dwell on it and of course we deal with the disappointment (of Sunday), but the focus is 100% on this game and the game demands that. It’s a tough ask and we realise how difficult it will be, but we’re ready for it and we’re buoyed by the level of performance we had. We know if we replicate that and try get a little bit more clinical in the final third then we’ll be ready.”
“You see our performances against the Old Firm and against Rangers our last three we’re unbeaten. At the tail end of last season and the business end of the league we drew one each, the first game of the season we drew one each and we beat them in the League Cup so our form’s good against Rangers. Of course, it was important getting that win down at Ibrox (two seasons ago), but I get that feeling with the boys that there is a positive feeling. These type of games you need to go down feeling positive and feeling good about yourself and the boys are certainly doing that. We’ll look forward to the tie.”
Competing With Celtic and Rangers
“To be an Aberdeen player you have to have a mentality and you need to be prepared to go down to Glasgow and go to Cup Finals and Semi-Finals and beat the Old Firm. As I said our last three encounters we’ve had with Rangers so we go down to this game with that mentality. We’ll have a game plan and try do everything we can do win that game and there’s a positive mindset.
“We knew before the weekend we were going to a team in good form, but we’re in good form also. We’ll just make sure that we’re strong and go into it with a game plan with the aim to go and win all three points.”
“We rely on each other to be positive. We’ve stayed together as a group since the Cup Final so that’s what you need. You need positive people and a real positive mindset and that’s what we’ve got. When you sign as an Aberdeen player you’ve got a responsibility and mentality to win games and we’ve got that as a management team. We need to make sure that as a soon as that final whistle goes it’s the next game and it’s about making sure everything tactically is right and preparing for the opposition, but mentally you need to be ready and its our job that we have to positive. We get that off the players as well and that’s something we’ve really picked up on. We’ve just lost a Cup Final, but you wouldn’t know it and seeing the boys about the hotel there’s a real positivity and it’s a game that demands us being on top form and top level of concentration. I feel as though there is that in the group at the moment.”
“The whole focus is on the next game and of course there’s disappointment as when you go into a Cup Final you want to win it. It’s important you look at the performance levels within the match and yes it’s about winning and losing, but we did enough in the match and if we take that into our league campaign we’ll win a lot of games with that performance level. Like every performance you’re looking to get that little bit better. Whether there’s areas we can improve on if we keep that to a standard we’ll be alright.”
Rangers and Alfredo Morelos
“His goals speak for itself and I think he’s on 17 goals so he is the focal point in their attack. There’s no doubt about that he’s an important player in their team so you need to be aware of that. You need to know what their strengths and weaknesses are and particularly at home they are a free-flowing team and very good at counter-attacking and have someone at the top end of the pitch that normally gets on the end of things. We know what we’re facing and we’ve done all our analysis. We’ve played them twice this season and we’re undefeated against them so we know exactly what Rangers are, but more importantly we know what we are and we know what we need to do. We need to stop the threat of Rangers and capitalise on the weaknesses that they’ve got.”
“He’s not back yet (Michael Devlin). The boys have trained Monday and will train today as well as a wee bit tomorrow and just assess how the squad are, but generally Gary Mackay-Steven apart we’ve got a clean bill of health.”