KILMARNOCK midfielder Gary Dicker claims tonight’s Scottish Cup quarter-final replay against Aberdeen is a “bonus” for his team while their opponents need to win to keep their season alive.

The Ayrshire side have exceeded all expectations since Steve Clarke took over as manager in October, losing just three times since, and Dicker feels they will play with freedom at Rugby Park.

Two of those defeats came against Aberdeen but a 1-1 draw at Pittodrie gives the hosts hope of securing a William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final against Motherwell when they face Derek McInnes’ side again.

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Kilmarnock moved eight points above Motherwell in the Ladbrokes Premiership on Saturday with a win over Ross County to all but secure their top-six status with four matches to spare. Aberdeen sit in third and Dicker claims their season rests on the cup.

“It is a massive game for us but the pressure is probably on them,” the Irishman said. “They are one of the best teams the last few years in the league, they were in two cup finals last year and finished second. They have been the only team right behind Celtic so we are not going to believe all the hype and think they are on a bit of a downer.

“They are expected to get there whereas for us it’s a bonus. Our aim was to stay in the league, let’s not butter it up any other way. Our objective was to stay in the league after the start we had. Anything after that is a bonus.

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“I said a few weeks ago, people were talking about top six but we still had a chance of being dragged down because of the start we had. So it’s a bonus game for us, a one-off. Nobody expected us to get this far.”
Kilmarnock are unbeaten in nine games since they lost at Pittodrie on league duty and Dicker feels their resilience has grown and grown.

“I think everyone has been waiting for us to trip up to jump all over us again but we have kept it going, even when we have been down and out in games we have come back, and that probably hasn’t happened over the last few years,” the 31-year-old said.

Winger Jordan Jones is rated at 50-50 to overcome a hamstring injury and left-back Greg Taylor is also doubtful after coming off with a knock during his team’s victory over Ross County.