Motherwell travel north to face Aberdeen in the Ladbrokes Premiership tonight.
And the midweek clash, rearranged after December’s fixture was abandoned due to floodlight failure, is an important one for both sides.
The Fir Parkers could move in to the top six with anything other than a loss, while the Dons could strengthen their bid for second place with a positive result tomorrow.
Derek McInnes’ men sit level on points with the Rangers and, amid constant links with the vacant managers position at Rangers, ‘Well boss Mark McGhee believes the Reds gaffer has done a fantastic job.
Speaking to the press this morning, McGhee said: “As someone who’s been at Aberdeen and knows how difficult it is to manage, I think he’s done a brilliant job.
“I see Tommy Wright has been linked with the job too and I would love to see one of these guys get the opportunity.”
Focussing on the positives of a weekend off as his side prepare for tomorrow night, the manager also said: “We’ve had a couple of reserve games, we’ve got another one tonight and Jacob Blyth will get another bit of that – he had his first game back.”
He added: “It’s also allowed Hammy and Taity to recover a bit because if they had of played on Saturday they wouldn’t have been fit for tomorrow. Pearo’s had a good week too, he got a game with the under 20s.”
The ‘Well boss admitted that he was disappointed not to have a game, but was in a positive frame of mind.
[pullquote]I felt that even after the Hearts game we were in a good frame of mind so I would’ve liked another game on Saturday but it wasn’t to be – so we will accentuate all the positives because we’ve got something out of the short break.[/pullquote]
He said: “With these sort of things you always accentuate the positives. I felt that even after the Hearts game we were in a good frame of mind so I would’ve liked another game on Saturday but it wasn’t to be – so we will accentuate all the positives because we’ve got something out of the short break.
“We’re learning that this season is going to be punctuated by these breaks so we just have to make the best of it.”
With the split approaching, McGhee revealed he plans to approach the remainder of the season one game at a time.
He said: “I think we can start to build now. We’ve got enough games left now to focus on to get ourselves in to the top six.
“If we don’t get beat tomorrow night we’ll go in to the top six, so we’ll just approach it incrementally.”
Midfielder Lee Lucas hopes to bring something different to the team every time he steps on the pitch.
Ahead of the Steelmen’s clash with Aberdeen and after a recent break through suspension, Lucas is fired up for tomorrow night’s league fixture and hopes to rediscover his match sharpness.
Speaking to the press this morning, the Welshman said: “The past few months have been good, I worked my way in to the team in the few games before Christmas but then had that two match suspension after the Hamilton game so that was a bit frustrating.”
He added: “That meant that I missed the two Rangers games which was unfortunate and with the winter break in between all of that it felt even longer.
[pullquote]When I play, that’s just what I hope to do – add something different and that’s what the manager has brought me in for.[/pullquote]
“Now I’m just trying to get back playing and get that match sharpness back. We’ve got a competitive squad now and we’ve got strength throughout– everyone wants to play.”
‘Well boss Mark McGhee described Lee Lucas as “the best footballer” among his midfield options.
And when asked about those comments, the 24-year-old admitted that his tyle of play is something he has developed from a young age.
He said: “It’s always nice to hear that and that’s just the way I’ve been brought up from my time at Swansea – that’s just what I know.
“When I play, that’s just what I hope to do – add something different and that’s what the manager has brought me in for.”
He added: “Whenever I get the chance that’s what I hope to do and help the team.”
Aberdeen head in to tonight’s match in fine form, having won five of their last six league games – losing once to runaway leaders Celtic.
The Dons will be without suspended left-back Graeme Shinnie for Wednesday’s Premiership meeting while defender Mark Reynolds and forward Niall McGinn are nursing knocks as the Dons seek to go three points clear of third-placed Rangers.
Tonight’s opponents form is even more impressive given the fact that they have only conceded once in their last six matches, in their loss to Celtic. In the other five wins, they have kept clean sheets.
The most recent was in the Scottish Cup on Saturday, when a deflected Shay Logan effort was enough to see Aberdeen progress to the quarter-finals.
The clubs season so far is yet another impressive one for manager Derek McInnes, who is being heavily linked with the Rangers job for good reason.
‘Well boss Mark McGhee agrees, and admitted that McInnes deserves credit for the job he has done at Aberdeen.
McGhee said: “As someone who has managed Aberdeen I know just how difficult a club it is to manage; I think he’s done a brilliant job.”
The Reds have a good record against Motherwell in recent seasons, winning six of the last eight head-to-heads.
However, both teams have scored in the last six Scottish Premiership meetings between these two sides.
There is likely to e goals tonight, and in Niall McGinn, Aberdeen possess one of the most in-form attackers in the league.
The Dons star has been directly involved in five of Aberdeen’s last six league goals, scoring twice and providing three assists.
Ahead of the game tonight, Derek McInnes spoke to the press.
He said: “We’re keen to keep the run going. It’s seven wins out of the last eight games. The 1-0 defeat at Celtic apart, it’s been very strong result-wise.
“I still want us to have more, still want us to find even better performances, but if the results keep coming the way they’ve been coming, I’ll be delighted.”
He added: “We won a game down at Motherwell not so long ago. Just because we’re in good form doesn’t give us any guarantees. It’ll be a tough game.
“Mark’s a shrewd manager, he knows exactly how to get results for his club and we’re going to have to overcome that.
“The challenge is there clearly to try and go three points clear. It’s important we try and take opportunities when they come along and tomorrow’s an opportunity.”