Derek McInnes insists Kilmarnock are capable of winning this season’s Scottish Cup.

The manager takes his Rugby Park side to Pittodrie tomorrow intending to reach the semi-finals of the competition, and in turn, secure another big day out at Hampden.

Given Killie has defeated Aberdeen in all three previous meetings this season – including a last-gasp victory in the Granite City in December – the visitors are viewed as slight favourites for this game.

McInnes has just one major trophy to his name as a manager, which came in the form of the League Cup in 2014 with the Dons.

He admits it’s a regret that he didn’t achieve more silverware in his time there, which is even more reason for his eagerness to atone for that at Killie.

“I genuinely feel like we can win a trophy,” the 52-year-old said. “As a club, Kilmarnock are capable of it. You need to believe it. That’s the message I’ve been giving to the players.

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“Normally when you go through the rounds, you come up against bigger teams and a tougher nut to crack.

“We beat Dundee at home earlier in the season. That was a tough game for us. You almost feel slightly aggrieved when you look at some of the games other teams had. But we won and we’re now in the quarter-finals.

“There will be other teams who have been knocked out who need to watch on TV this weekend.

“I remember how that felt, watching the Rangers-Aberdeen League Cup Final earlier this season when I was doing it for TV. It was a bit of dugout envy. I just wanted my Kilmarnock team to be there, so hopefully we can do it in this competition.”

McInnes’ team comfortably dispatched Aberdeen just a fortnight ago as Corrie Ndaba and Matty Kennedy scored in a 2-0 win at Rugby Park.

While that result has the large Killie away support in an expectant mood, the boss highlighted that Aberdeen has still shown, despite their deficiencies in recent years, that they can rise to the big occasion.

He added: “I want to have a team that arrives at Hampden and expects to arrive at Hampden all of the time. I think the more familiar you are with the surroundings then it gives you a better opportunity to deal with the game.

“We should be putting that emphasis on getting to Hampden. It’s not always the four best teams that get to the semi-finals, but just by looking at our league form, we should be a team that can get there.

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“Being 90 minutes away from a cup final is everything. It’s a big game for both teams. Aberdeen are littered with good players and they’ve shown, even in the last couple of years where they’ve struggled for consistency, they’ve still got that big performance in them.

“They’ve got obvious advantages. They’re at home, their budget is way bigger than mine. But everybody at Killie goes up confident, and that pleases me no end. We don’t look at it and feel it’s beyond us.

“We know Aberdeen will start winning at some point soon, we just need to hope for our sake that we’ve got a performance in us that can win a cup tie. It pleases me that a lot of people think we are capable because I don’t know if that would’ve been the case last year.”

Neil Warnock’s comments certainly caught the eye in the wake of the recent encounter between the teams, with the 75-year-old stating that Killie ‘bullied’ his players and that he ‘wouldn’t want to watch that every week’.

There could well be a different sentiment inside the dressing room, but McInnes was clear with his public messaging when asked if those quotes would add fuel to the fire.

He said: “I think we’ve been a good watch this season. We play with wingers and two strikers. We score goals. I’ve never been one to really comment on other teams’ styles.

“There will be times you come up against teams who are more possession-based, other times it’ll be a team who are more direct. I’ve never felt the need for any points scoring in that regard or to point the finger at other teams.

“I like how we are playing and the fact we have an identity. I like what the players have given me this season and long may that continue.”