Dons need to be on the ball

Jonny Hayes wants Aberdeen to put their best foot forward in their William Hill Scottish Cup final against Celtic on May 27.

The Dons were dismal in losing 3-0 to Brendan Rodgers’ treble-chasing Hoops in the Betfred Cup final at Hampden Park in November and have emerged without a point in three Ladbrokes Premiership encounters with the champions this season.

Republic of Ireland winger Hayes, among four candidates along with Celtic trio Scott Sinclair, Moussa Dembele and Stuart Armstrong for the PFA Scotland player of the year award, is looking for improvement in the season finale at the national stadium.

He said: “There is no getting away from the fact that we were very poor in the League Cup final.

“That wasn’t us on that day. We need to improve and perform and if we go on and win it I will be delighted with that.

“But we are not there to stop Celtic’s treble – we are there to try and win it for ourselves and our football club.

“It is the biggest one-off game in Scotland, I am sure a lot of people feel the same.

“We will go and look to improve, it certainly can’t get any worse than the League Cup final. If we go and be the best we can on the day it gives us a right shot at winning it.”

Hayes has scored eight goals for Aberdeen and helped them to two cup finals and a nine-point lead over Rangers in second place but was surprised to be among so many Celtic nominees.

He said: “They have had a great season individually and as a team. It is surprising to see anybody other than a Celtic player, I suppose, today.

“I am delighted to be part of it. It is nice to get a bit of recognition, especially from fellow pros.

“I would be lying if I said I expected it. I am delighted to take part – but more surprised than anything that I am down here today.”

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