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Wednesday 29th May 2024

Scottish League Cup Group Stage Draw - 1pm

🔴⚪️ Come on you Reds! ⚪🔴

Brian Irvine urges fans to judge side on league form and not cup exit

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ABERDEEN fans have been scarred by too many false Dons in recent seasons but Pittodrie hero Brian Irvine is convinced this time there really is a bright future on the horizon.

The positive start to the campaign hit the buffers last week with the League Cup exit on penalties to St Mirren followed by the end of their 10-match unbeaten SPL run at Ross County.

Some pessimistic punters predict the wheels coming off but Irvine insists the Dons bandwagon has merely hit a bump in the road.

The Scottish Cup star, who netted the winning penalty in the 9-8 Hampden shoot-out victory against Celtic in 1989, is convinced Craig Brown’s side are the real deal this time.

Irvine knows the cup defeat hurts but it is the SPL where Aberdeen should be judged. He said: “Aberdeen had a difficult week but they can’t let that undo all the good work.

“The real challenge is now how they respond to the disappointment of going out of the cup and the unbeaten run coming to an end.

“It’s a test of character and they have to pick themselves up and try to get back on another unbeaten run. I know Aberdeen fans can sometimes be a bit glass half empty but as far as I can see the glass is full. It’s just a blip and fans should be positive for the rest of the season.

“The squad will be down after the last week but I’m sure Craig and Archie will have them lifted for Saturday and they’ll have plenty of incentive against St Mirren.”

Aberdeen have not won a trophy in nearly 18 years but Irvine reckons finishing second in the SPL would be an even bigger achievement than lifting silverware.

He said: “Going out of the cup is a huge disappointment. It’s been too long since Aberdeen last were in a cup final and they would have felt the League Cup was a great chance to progress to Hampden.

“But no so-called provincial team has the right to get to finals and win cups each year. Just look at Hibs, they’re a big club from the capital and haven’t won the Scottish Cup for 110 years.

“For teams outside the Old Firm to get there you need a few breaks along the way and Aberdeen didn’t get that against St Mirren

“It’s great to get to a final but it would arguably be a greater achievement finishing second in the SPL. The league is what you work for all year.

“They have the players to do it. From what I’ve seen this season there are a lot of positives about this Aberdeen team. They’ve been really exciting to watch this season and I’ve go no doubts they’re going to be one of the teams to beat in terms of finishing second.

“You have to be realistic and say Celtic are overwhelming favourites but it would be great to see Aberdeen and a few others staying up there around them for as long as possible.

“Aberdeen have a great chance of doing it. They lost a couple of bad goals in Dingwall but they’ve been much more solid at the back this year with Russell Anderson in there. He’s such a composed player and a real leader.

“They are strong in midfield with a lot of experience in Gavin Rae and Stephen Hughes but it’s up front they will cause teams lots of problems.

“Their attacking players are as good as anyone in the league. Niall McGinn has been in great scoring form, Ryan Fraser has burst on to the scene and Jonny Hayes is top talent.”

Irvine backed striker Scott Vernon to get back on the goal trail. The hitman has bagged four this season but only one in the league.

He said: “Vernon maybe hasn’t scored as many as he’d have liked but his role is a little bit different this year and he still gets into terrific positions. The goals will come from him because he proved it in the past. He scored plenty in the last couple of years and that was in a struggling side.

“Aberdeen are creating far more chances this year and it’s only a matter of time before he starts scoring regularly.”

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Can't disagree with too much of that. The last week or two have been our first disappointing of the season and we have a month ahead of us that will make or break us. If we are still within touching distance of the top and into the next round of the cup come four weeks time it will have been a superb first third of the season

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