Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has admitted that his players were “running on empty” after three games against the Old Firm in recent weeks.

After facing Rangers twice in the Scottish Cup and Celtic in the league, McInnes’ players were running on fumes as they toiled to a 1-1 draw with Livingston yesterday.

ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 22: Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Aberdeen and Hearts at Pittodrie Stadium on December 22, 2018 in Aberdeen, Scotland.

(Photo by Scott Baxter/Getty Images)

The Dons boss conceded that the effort exerted against the Glasgow giants left his players tired but insists he’ll “support them” through it.

“I was concerned about the effort the players have put in over the last three games against the Old Firm, with this game coming at the end of that period and it was important we didn’t allow that to be a factor by getting off to a good start” McInnes said, as quoted by the Daily Record.

“Livingston really got after us. They looked bright and fresh, and we didn’t get into our rhythm, but one goal should have been enough today.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 02: Derek McInnes manager of Aberdeen reacts during the Betfred Cup Final between Celtic and Aberdeen at Hampden Park on December 2, 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“I felt a lot of my players were running on empty in the second half when the onus was on us, but I’ll support them through this.”

With Rangers and Kilmarnock playing out a 1-1 draw, the Dons missed a chance to close the gap on the Ibrox side while also extending their lead on Killie.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 02: Derek McInnes manager of Aberdeen walks on the pitch with players prior to the Betfred Cup Final between Celtic and Aberdeen at Hampden Park on December 2, 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Only one point separates Aberdeen and Kilmarnock with eight games to go as they fight for third in the table.

McInnes will now have a couple of weeks to rest his players over the international break before the final run of fixtures in the campaign.