Mick Kennedy took his seat at Tynecastle to watch Aberdeen capitulate in spectacular fashion last week.

He could probably have predicted what would follow: ‘You’ll never have a better chance against them’. It does stand to reason that a trip to the claustrophobic surroundings of Recreation Park for a Monday night Scottish Cup tie against sixth tier Darvel has the potential for further Dons’ embarrassment.

But their manager does not quite view it that way. Instead, Kennedy sees a side who pushed Rangers all the way at Hampden a week ago, and whose 5-0 hammering against Hearts was not entirely reflective of the 90 minutes.

“I’m not reading too much into it,” he said. “If we were both Premiership clubs, but given where we are in the pyramid system I’m not sure it’s going to have a significant bearing on the match, to be honest with you.

“I know they’re going through a difficult period, by all accounts, but I thought they played very well at Hampden. I was at the Hearts game in midweek and I actually thought the game was very even for large parts of it. It was never a 5-0 game, in my opinion.

“You’ve got to hope there’s a degree of complacency somewhere, but I’m sure Jim and his staff will be really driving the message that they need a strong, dominant performance.

“There’s different dynamics for Aberdeen but we need to focus on what we’re good at, what we’ve worked on. It’ll be a real, real challenge.

“Loads of people are saying ‘you’ll never get a better chance’ but, listen, it’s easy to judge these guys when you’re sitting in the house on the couch. You have to respect their level and the quality they have in the group, they’re still a very strong Premiership team. There’s utmost respect from myself, the staff and the players.”

Sitting top of the league, Darvel are drilled to play front foot, possession-based football, and Kennedy has no plans to change that approach this evening. He accepts there will be periods where his players will have to dig in, perhaps even suffer a bit, but contends that a wholesale change in how they operate would create more problems than it would solve. They do, after all, have a squad packed with SPFL experience in the likes of Ian McShane, Daryl Meggatt and Jordan Kirkpatrick.

“I think the challenge for our players and staff is we need to try and implement our game as much as we possibly can," Kennedy said. "Obviously, there’s an increase in the opposition’s quality and fitness, so brings its own challenges.

“If we’re going to have any chance in the game, we need to stick to our beliefs like we do every week. Anyone who comes and watches us, or knows how we play, will tell you it’s very much possession-based football, keeping the ball at all times.

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“That’s the philosophy, that’s how we work and train week in, week out. I think, to navigate too far away from that, would cause us problems.

“Listen, the game might naturally turn into that. We might need to defend our own box and be a lot deeper than what I would anticipate but, in the main, we need to try and impose ourselves on the game. That might not come to fruition depending on how the game develops.

“Most people – or people who don’t know me - would assume that we will try and be compact, try and stay in the game or keep the score down, maybe catch them on the break or with a set-piece. But the reality is, I don’t think we have the players to do that. We are better trying to stick to what the game plan is week in, week out.”

It could make for a highly entertaining evening, especially if Aberdeen fail to treat the occasion with the respect it deserves. And that, ultimately, is what it’s all about for this tiny Ayrshire town – a monumental occasion.

The BBC cameras are set to descend, along a level of media presence the club will have not seen before. Aberdeen will know such resources are not deployed in hope of a routine victory for an overwhelming favourite. Whatever happens, though, Kennedy hopes the evening will come to be a significant milestone in the club’s history as they strive towards the SPFL.

“In terms of where we’ve come from in such a short space of time, and our ambition to get into the senior leagues which we’ve never hidden, part of that process was hoping we could get occasions like this,” he said. “We’re playing, arguably, the third biggest club in the country, at home, in our second year in the competition. It’s an unbelievable achievement. So, for the town and the fans, it’s something they would never have dreamt be possible.

“Everybody is looking forward to it and for us, it can hopefully solidify that foundation to allow us to continue to progress as we have done the last few years. It’s a massive occasion on many levels for us.”