Hughes eager to bounce back from cup loss
Midfielder Stephen Hughes is confident Aberdeen's midweek Scottish Communities League Cup exit will not derail their impressive run in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.
The Dons were dumped out by St Mirren on penalties at Pittodrie on Tuesday night, as the Paisley club upset the odds to book their place in the last four of the competition.
The result was only Aberdeen's second defeat of the season - having lost to Celtic on the opening day - and Hughes claims confidence is still high ahead of Saturday with Ross County.
He told RedTV: "We were disappointed and it was a good chance for us.
"But we just have to pick ourselves up and focus on the Ross County game and getting back to winning ways in the league.
"All we can do is take our good league form into the Ross County game and hopefully pick up the three points.
"We were put out on penalties and that's what people need to remember - we weren't beat by two or three goals.
"We were confident going into the game and we're confident after the game.
"We've got good league form just now and we want to keep that up."
Hughes is well aware of the task facing the Dons ahead of the trip to Dingwall but says they are relishing the challenge of attempting to claim a result in the Highlands.
He added: "We know it's going to be difficult going up to County because they're a good team and they've got a good record up there, but we look forward to it and we will try to banish the memory of Tuesday.
"They don't lose many games up there so it's going to be difficult but it's a challenge we look forward to."
The former Rangers and Motherwell midfielder is satisfied with his own form but insists competition for places will not allow him to rest on his laurels.
Hughes said: "I'm happy but you can always do better. I'm just happy to be playing but I need to keep myself in the team.
"There's a big squad here and there are a lot of players on the bench and in the stand who are looking to take my place.
"Hopefully I can contribute to the team and stay in the team."
Dons boss Craig Brown will make a late decision on Andrew Considine and Ryan Fraser. Considine has been out of action with an ankle injury, while Fraser has been struggling with illness. Ryan Jack, Rory Fallon, Jamie Masson and Rob Milson are all sidelined.
County manager Derek Adams has backed his team to raise their game again as the Global Energy Stadium prepares for one of its biggest crowds.
The visiting support were well on their way to buying all of their allocation for Aberdeen's first competitive game in Dingwall.
Former Dons player Adams said: "It's been a sell-out of Aberdeen tickets, we have sold 2,000 to away fans, so it will be a very good atmosphere.
"We always rise to the occasion against the bigger teams and none come bigger than Aberdeen.
"We drew 0-0 at Pittodrie and it was quite an entertaining game but both teams have made changes since that game.
"They are on a very good unbeaten run in the SPL but we are trying to cut the gap between ourselves and them to three points so it's all to play for."
The goalless draw in August was indicative of both teams' start to the season, when defences were on top in most matches, but that situation has turned around emphatically.
County's first six SPL matches yielded a total of just three goals but their subsequent five games produced 25.
Aberdeen were involved in three goalless draws in their opening six SPL matches but have hit 11 goals in their past five, with Niall McGinn on target in each after returning from an ankle injury.
And Adams was impressed with Aberdeen's attacking options as he watched them exit the cup following a 2-2 draw against St Mirren.
"I was there and I thought Aberdeen played very well in the first half and were unfortunate not to go further ahead," he said.
"I thought McGinn was excellent the other night, he links up well with the midfield but looks to get in behind as well.
"Jonny Hayes came in and caused St Mirren problems. They have got good options in the wider areas and strength in depth in midfield."
County forward Sam Morrow returns from injury but midfielders Paul Lawson and Russell Duncan are still absent. Alex Cooper (ankle) and Mark Corcoran (groin) are back in training following injury but the latter is not ready to play.