DEREK McInnes’s “there’s no love lost between the clubs” best sums up the tension building as Aberdeen and Rangers prepare for their fifth clash of the season, a potentially nerve-jangling William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final at Pittodrie tomorrow.

The stakes are high for both clubs with the Pittodrie manager calling for his team to show the “brilliant concentration” they displayed when they beat Steven Gerrard’s men in the League Cup semi-final at Hampden last October and again at Ibrox in early December.

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In the background, there is the much-publicised bad feeling between both sets of fans, fuelled by the series of red cards shown to Alfredo Morelos and his Aberdeen centre-back opponent, Scott McKenna. The Gers striker leads 3-2 on ordering-offs.

Mikey Devlin, easing himself into full action following a lengthy spell out because of injury, and used as a substitute in the shock 2-0 defeat to Hamilton in midweek, looks forward to coming face-to-face with the volatile Colombian, a player he admires.

Their only previous encounter was brief – 12 minutes – with the Ibrox player seeing red in the opener to the Premiership campaign, a 1-1 draw and Gerrard’s debut in the dugout.

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“Morelos’s goals speak for themselves,” said Devlin. “We know that he’s a handful. We know he can cause problems if you don’t take care of him. Whatever defence is picked come Sunday will know they have a tough job of keeping him quiet.

“I’ve only played against him for 12 minutes and then he got sent off. He missed the cup semi-final, which I played in, and he played in the game at Ibrox which I was injured for, then I didn’t play in the game here three weeks ago when we lost 4-2.

“You’ve got to relish those challenges. You want to play in the biggest games against the biggest players. Certainly, on current form, he’s one of the best players in the league and certainly one of the best goal-scorers. You look forward to that and it gives you a test.

“You need to pay him close attention. You can’t give him space to operate in. He doesn’t take long to get his shots away and he’s lethal in the box. You need to mark him closely.

“He’s a competitive player. He plays right on the line but I think that’s what makes him so good, that he plays with that bit of fire in his game. That’s what makes him a handful and it’s a side of the game that you look forward to. You’ve got a player who won’t hold back and he’ll use whatever he can to make sure his performance levels are where they want to be.

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“It’s important to keep a cool head as much as it is an exciting proposition against Rangers. It’s important that you don’t get too carried away. You’ve got to play the game and not the full occasion and not the drama that goes along with these things.”

Those words will be repeated again and again by McInnes moments before the teams run out onto the Pittodrie pitch for a fixture never short of controversy. That 4-2 win for Rangers ended with words between the managers over what the Pittodrie side claimed were over-the-top post-match celebrations with counter claims that the corridor picture gallery en route to the changing rooms featured a disproportionate number of photographs of Aberdeen wins over the Ibrox side, rubbished by McInnes.

“There is a huge rivalry between both sets of clubs,” he conceded. “And there is no love lost. The game, itself, can be difficult to referee. The supporters will demand the game is played in a certain way, with plenty of tackles and aggression and huge commitment.

“All that is important, but there is also a need for calmness, discipline, organisation and real concentration on the job. When we have beaten Rangers this season we have had brilliant concentration and very few mistakes have been made.

“We have been very smart with work as well as being competitive and there will be a balance of all that for us to get a result on Sunday.”

The Dons hope that one or more of three injured players – Gary Mackay-Steven, Max Lowe and James Wilson – will be available.