23 Oct Dons trophy call
Derek McInnes challenged his Aberdeen team to ensure they are not viewed as one-hit wonders after reaching the Betfred Cup final for the second time in four seasons.
A 2-0 victory over Morton at Hampden set up a final against Celtic or Rangers on November 27 and gives Aberdeen the chance to add to their 2014 triumph over Inverness.
Aberdeen had to overcome some strong Morton resistance but got a break in the 69th minute when Adam Rooney headed home despite looking to be in an offside position, and they cruised through the final stages before Kenny McLean added a late second.
McInnes said: “I want my period here and my players’ period here not to be always related to the League Cup final win at Parkhead. Every time a cup competition comes round I want other references.
“I want my players to feel it was more of an era and a sustained period of success rather than one trophy in four, five, six years, whatever it is.
“I want us to make sure people look back on this period and say it was a team that always got to semi-finals and finals and put themselves in positions to win trophies.
“We made it clear at the start of the season our objective was to go and win trophies and we are 90 minutes away from doing that now.”
McInnes felt his team were rewarded for their patience after Morton grew into the game following an early onslaught when Jonny Hayes headed against the bar.
Rooney also headed against the bar in first-half injury-time but Dons goalkeeper Joe Lewis had just saved a good chance for Jai Quitongo, who continued to threaten as the Ladbrokes Championship side began the second half well.
McInnes said: “Sometimes when you play against a team that are working so hard to put out fires and keep us away from their goal, if you keep possession and keep working them side to side and keep testing their organisation, then something would happen.
“Thankfully we got the goal from Rooney and after that we passed up a few opportunities for the second.
“Morton deserve a lot of credit but I think my players deserve a lot of credit for having the confidence and the wherewithal to keep going and keep doing their job well. And the best team won.”
Morton boss Jim Duffy stressed the officials would have played a key role if Rooney was offside. Footage shows the Irishman had strayed half a yard offside before Andy Considine headed Graeme Shinnie’s cross on to his head.
Duffy said: “The first five or 10 minutes was absolutely frantic and we were a little bit shell-shocked.
“They had a succession of corners and balls into the box and we were just weathering that storm, but after 10 minutes we did okay. Don’t get me wrong, Aberdeen were the dominant side but, as the game wore on and particularly the second half, they didn’t create too many chances.
“I was absolutely thrilled with the performance and attitude of the players.
“We don’t have an Adam Rooney and we maybe don’t have the experience, and the top teams wear you down by passing, keep changing the play, keep the pitch wide, and your boys are shuffling across the pitch. And eventually, maybe sometimes concentration just catches up on them.
“But I’ve been told the first goal is offside and, if it is, it’s certainly going to stick in my throat.
“Believe me, if there’s an offside call tomorrow in the big game, they will make a big deal of it, that’s for sure.
“It’s such a huge turning point in the game. That was the most relaxed I felt in the game, that period. Aberdeen were beginning to get a wee bit edgy.
“They weren’t going to capitulate but the fans were getting a wee bit restless and our players were thinking ‘one good chance and we might just nick it’. The first goal was pivotal, no doubt about it.”