Beware A Wounded Don
Updated Saturday, 21st March 2009
Losing to Dunfermline in the Scottish will have stung Aberdeen and the Reds will be keen to win today and stay in the race for Europe.
Hibs welcome a disappointed Aberdeen side who fell at the quarter final stage of the Scottish Cup to First Division Dunfermline in midweek. To make matters worse - the replay was played at Pittodrie! Easter Road manager Mixu Paatelainen has warned his players that the Dons will be determined to bounce back and pick up all three points today. The defeat on penalties on Wednesday night meant that Aberdeen manager Jimmy Calderwood came under fire from all sides for his team's performance and decisions taken during the quarter-final replay. The Pittodrie boss has since called on his squad to ensure their season does not go from bad to worse by keeping themselves in the hunt for European qualification. And Paatelainen has warned his side they will be facing a purposeful side as the Easter Road men bid to join the hunt for Europa League spots with a third consecutive win following victories over Hamilton and Hearts.
He said: "It's going to be difficult for many reasons. Aberdeen are determined to bounce back to winning ways after their cup exit and they also have some quality players out there who can hurt any defence, as they have done throughout the season. They've been very successful against the Old Firm and that tells me they can beat anybody. The flak is part and parcel of the game, that's what happens and you know that when you enter management. You know if there aren't enough victories then you will feel the heat. Plenty of people will point the finger and criticise you. You need to be thick-skinned and believe in what you're doing, keep doing it and keep everybody in good spirits. I'm sure Jimmy, as an experienced manager, will do that. It will be interesting to see how his players react to that cup exit. They will be disappointed but the league is the most important thing and they are well placed to qualify for the top six and Europe, so there is everything to play for."
Hibs are looking to stretch their unbeaten run to four games and Paatelainen knows a fourth clean sheet in a row would go a long way to achieving that. He added: "For me, everything starts from defence. If you concede loads of goals you can't win matches. In the last three matches we have been very successful in defending and hopefully we can keep that going. But Aberdeen have got loads of pacy strikers, with strength, and players who can certainly score goals. It will be a difficult task."
Ger Harley (ger@scottishfitba net)
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