STEVE CLARKE and Derek McInnes couldn’t agree on how Jordan Jones ended up on the ground in the first tie.
Now they dispute whether or not Aberdeen’s season will be over if they lose Tuesday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final replay.
Clarke said: “There will be a little bit more pressure on Aberdeen than us — their season rests on a good Cup run.
“Aberdeen are talking about winning the Cup and when you do that you put more pressure on yourselves.
“We talk about trying to get to a semi-final and trying to beat Aberdeen in a replay.
“If Aberdeen go out having drawn Kilmarnock at home in a quarter-final, they will be disappointed.
“If we go out having drawn Aberdeen away, we’ll be sad but we’ll move on.
“Our season is going well. If we finish top six, having been where we were, it’ll be a good achievement.
“We have already had a good season. Aberdeen’s season could be defined by how well they do in the Scottish Cup.
“Maybe Derek will say different but I think there’s a little bit more pressure on them.”
McInnes, of course, does say different.
He was furious when Jones went down between Dons defenders Shay Logan and Kari Arnason to win the penalty which sent the tie to a replay.
He is just as angry at suggestions Tuesday’s game will be the defining moment of the Dons’ season.
They are currently third in the Premiership and can’t countenance going out.
McInnes said: “There is still a lot to play for in the league but I’d say the perception of having a good season or a very good season is normally demonstrated through the cups.
“This could be our sixth semi-final in five years if we could get through.
“Sometimes when we have finished second in the league and haven’t reached a cup final it hasn’t had the same perception as other seasons because the cups offer so much.
“It can be the difference between us being very successful or not.
“It gives us momentum as a club and we could all be doing with that at the minute, that feelgood factor that comes with winning games.
“If we can get to the semi-final it could help our league form and help us to keep that focus.
“But it is a bit of a stretch to call it season-defining.”
The Dons have won their last seven trips to Rugby Park but McInnes reckons that counts for nothing on Tuesday.
He added: “It is the first Kilmarnock team for as long as I can remember who have been really strong at home.
“There is a real feelgood factor about them and there is a huge improvement from where they have been.
“We’ll need to get somewhere close to what we are capable of to get the job done.”
McInnes’ mood won’t have been helped by news that Jones is winning his fitness fight to make the replay.
Greg Taylor may also be ready after limping out of Saturday’s 3-2 win over Ross County — Killie’s tenth home game without defeat.
More good news for Clarke was the ‘clarity’ McInnes offered after initially claiming the Jones flashpoint in the first game was not a penalty.
Clarke said: “I wasn’t looking for a phone call from Derek. I wanted a little more clarity about what he actually meant when he said what he said about Jordan.
“In his second press conference when he spoke about it, we have more clarity about what he was implying.
“It was a penalty and Derek agrees it was a penalty, so now we know.
“If Jordan is fit for the game, it won’t be down to a determination to play against Aberdeen. It’ll be because the physio has done good work and because he’s a conscientious lad. He is desperate to play in a big game.
“Jordan has improved a lot. Fingers crossed but I’m much more hopeful he will make it than I was when he came off against St Johnstone.
“But we have good options. All the players have stepped up to the mark.
“We have used almost everyone in the squad recently and, when they’ve come in, they’ve done well.
“The home form has been really good. When I got here we couldn’t win at home and everybody was talking about the pitch and the crowd.
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“Now we’ve a good feeling about the place and the players understand how to get results on the pitch.
“I’m sure teams look at Kilmarnock away now as a really difficult game which is a real step forward for the club.
“We haven’t beaten Aberdeen this season in four games so we need to address that and find a way to beat them.”
Source : https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/sport/football/2352459/steve-clarke-derek-mcinnes-aberdeen-kilmarnock-scottish-cup-dispute/1646