Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has claimed his side are “confident” they can secure second in the Scottish Premiership – despite insisting Rangers’ budget means “they should be the team closest” to runaway leaders Celtic.

McInnes’ side have a three-point lead over the Light Blues after Tuesday’s win over Motherwell and the Dons boss thinks his side can come in behind Celtic and pip the Gers for the second consecutive season.

Neil Lennon’s Hibs have also dragged themselves into the race for second and McInnes admits it is a “real challenge” to finish the best of the rest this term.

“I think we’re confident in ourselves. Regardless of what has happened up to now, people remember how you finish a season rather than how you start a season,” McInnes said, as quoted by the Evening Express.

“We are there or thereabouts with where we normally are at this stage of the season.

“We’ve normally secured Europe by now, we’ve normally in the past secured second spot by now.

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“But I think it’s clear to see that it’s a real challenge.

“Hibs are doing brilliantly under Neil Lennon, Rangers have got some good players and you would expect them with what they’ve spent, that they should be the team closest to Celtic rather than ourselves or Hibs.”

McInnes’ side will be hoping they can pick up three points this weekend to keep them ahead of the Gers before the split.

The Light Blues will face the Dons once more before the end of the season and need to make sure they don’t drop any more points if they are going to secure second.

Football Insider verdict:

Falling to third should provoke some sort of reaction from Graeme Murty’s side on Saturday when they face Dundee at Ibrox. Anything less than second is abject failure for the Light Blues regardless of if they lift the Scottish Cup or not and they need to ensure they take maximum points over the coming weeks and secure second place. After dropping silly points pretty consistently throughout the season, the Gers really need to turn things around quickly or the could end up fourth in the table.

In other Rangers news, Craig Burley has named his ideal candidate for the Gers job

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