DEREK McINNES reckons his Aberdeen side have not been given the credit they deserve as he looks ahead to Celtic and Rangers flexing their financial muscle in next season’s Ladbrokes Premiership campaign.

McInnes, preparing for tonight’s league fixture against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park, also insisted that Ronny Deila’s impending departure from Parkhead would not have an adverse impact on Celtic in the run-in to the title.

“The fact I have even been asked about a title challenge these last two years reflects how well the team have done,” he said.

“We’ve been sitting in April talking about a title race – and hopefully we still will in May. That deserves credit.”

McInnes has been rattled by suggestions that his side have failed when the chips have been down in their challenge for the title, a claim that does his players a disservice.

“I’m not looking for praise,” he added, “but the players do not deserve criticism. It’s something I feel strongly about.

“I hear people saying Rangers now need to spend millions to bridge the gap with Celtic, no one really questions that fact.

“But at the same time, Rangers already currently have three times the budget we have yet we are portrayed as having blown it. We’ve been criticised for not sustaining it.

“We are the one team who has provided the challenge to Celtic this last couple of seasons.

“The players deserve a lot of credit for that. We are really stretching everything out of these boys.

“Over a 38-game season, this year and last, we are the side who have picked up the responsibility of trying to put a challenge in.

“Celtic and Rangers will chuck money at it next season, but we have nothing to worry about on that side of things.

“It will prove difficult to keep up with them in terms of spending, but when it comes to results I still think we will show we can improve.”