Aberdeen manager Barry Robson has told his players that they have an opportunity to create the best moments of their career if they can progress in the Viaplay Cup.
Saturday’s semi-final at Hampden pits the Dons against Hibernian, with the winners going on to play Rangers or Hearts in next month’s final.
Robson won the competition twice as a player, most recently in 2014 when Aberdeen won their only major silverware since 1996. Having suffered disappointment in other finals, he says the memories live long and he wants his players to seize the chance to have positive experiences.
He said: “When you look back on your career, that feeling you get when you win something with all your teammates, it’s a feeling you’ll never replace again. Ever.
“You’ll sit and read the newspaper and it’ll say ‘ten years ago’ that you won something. For me, if someone mentions Tommy Burns, I just remember back to the time we won the league that year.
“Or with Aberdeen and the League Cup, it’s stuff that stays with you for life.
“That’s there for the players. If you want to have that, it’s the most important thing when you retire.”
Reflecting on the 2014 League Cup success, he has fond memories of the whole occasion but says it’s the missed opportunity of the Scottish Cup that threatens to overshadow it.
“It”[The League Cup triumph] was really good,” he said. “The biggest frustration I always had was that I should have won the other cup.
“It’s terrible that you think like that, when it was the first time Aberdeen had won a cup in 20 years, but every time I go back in my mind, my first thought was: “We should have won the other cup. I should have had two”.
“It’s never enough, is it? You have that drive to do well.
“It was terrific. To take 43,000 down to Glasgow shows you the size of Aberdeen Football Club and the fan base that is there.
“Obviously we would love to try and get back there again.”
Aberdeen enjoyed a boost ahead of the semi-final with a 4-2 win at Motherwell in their most recent game, ending a four-game winless run.
“It’s always good to win,” Robson said. “Winning breeds confidence.
“We’re in a good place. The boys did well the other night and they’ve worked really hard.
“There’s games we haven’t been great in, and there’s reasons for that, but we feel good and we feel fresh. We’re coping better with all the games and you could see that the other night.
“We just want to come and play well and try to win.”
With the players in good spirit after that victory, their manager has urged them to take on Hibs with the belief that it can be the next step in a journey towards ultimate success in the competition.
“If you want to achieve anything then you’ve got to believe,” he said. “Be positive.
“You’ve can’t go into a cup thinking you’re going to lose it, you have to go in thinking you’ll win it. There are huge challenges along the way, we know that.
“This Hibs team is a proper good team and it’s a really difficult game for us but we’ve got to go and try to perform well and win.”
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