ABERDEEN have known for some time that they will have to come to terms with life without their inspirational captain Graeme Shinnie, just perhaps not as soon as tomorrow’s Scottish Cup semi-final.

Shinnie held talks with English Championship side Derby County this week with a view to a summer move south, but a suspension means that the Dons will first have to cope without their skipper tomorrow at Hampden.

Facing Celtic without him may be a daunting prospect, but goalkeeper Joe Lewis has told his teammates it is up to the other leaders in the squad to fill the void.

“With Shinnie being out, everyone is going to need to step up to that plate,” Lewis said. “It’s a great opportunity for others to step up and show the manager they can deal with this type of occasion.

“It’s important for everyone and senior members, especially. I try to take on that role of making sure the lads are right, but we have a very professional bunch.

“No-one is to wild or doesn’t know what they are doing, so we will use that mix of experience we have with the young lads well.”

Lewis knows that he will have to be at the top of his game if Aberdeen are to pull off an upset at Hampden, while impressing upon his colleagues at the other end of the pitch that they will have to be ruthless too,

“It’s hard to predict how the game will go, but we need to make sure we are organised and keeping things tight,” he said.

“I don’t think we’ll be going gung-ho, but then that’s the plan against Celtic for most teams and was probably our plan when we lost 4-3 at home!

“So, you can’t predict how it might go, but we do think it will be tight and it will be difficult.

“We need to take opportunities and chances when they come along because you don’t get many in games against good teams, so we need to take any and make sure we have a ruthless streak in front of goal and be clinical in our defensive work, too.”

Lewis already has his fair share of happy memories at Hampden, but a win over Celtic tomorrow would top the lot.

“Beating Rangers in the semi-final of the League Cup was obviously a big one,” he said. “I also enjoyed when we beat Hibs in a semi-final having scored after 12 seconds. That was a great feeling.

“I’ve played quite a lot of games at Hampden and I always enjoy them. I don’t enjoy losing any, but I enjoy the occasion, the pitch and the atmosphere.

“I am looking forward to it and hopefully I can be on the winning side.