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Irvine in the Daily Ranger


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BRIAN IRVINE can - on a rare occasion - go a whole week without someone mentioning his penalty shoot-out winner for Aberdeen against Celtic which won the Scottish Cup.

Even an entire day can elapse without him thinking about it.

 

The former Pittodrie defender of some distinction doesn't mind it one bit when Dons fans approach him in the street to talk about the moment he sent Pat Bonner the wrong way from 12 yards in the 1990 final to win Aberdeen the cup in a historic final.

 

What does bother him is that day, some time ago now it has to be said, was his beloved side's last Scottish Cup success and there have been no other heroes in red since that May afternoon 18 years ago.

 

And it doesn't give the ex-skipper any pleasure to admit that unless something incredible happens this weekend he will still be the last man to score the winner for Aberdeen in a Scottish Cup Final come the end of this season.

 

Irvine can't see his old club, the one he made over 300 appearances for between 1985 and 1997, get past Celtic at Pittodrie on Sunday.

 

It's not only make or break for Aberdeen's season but perhaps even for manager Jimmy Calderwood's time in the north.

 

But even then it's difficult for this former player to see anything other than victory for Gordon Strachan and his players.

 

When Irvine moved from Dundee to Pittodrie it was at a time when the club were always competing in the league and cups, every single season.

 

He never thought for a moment when he scored his famous goal against Celtic that the Red Army would not have anything to compare it with the best part of two decades later.

 

Irvine said: "I would love to see Aberdeen win for the fans because this is the only chance to keep their season alive.

 

"That in itself should give players an edge and therefore a chance to win the game.

 

"But if you look purely at recent results and performances it's hard to see past a Celtic win.

 

"I believe I'm the last Aberdeen player to score the winner in a Scottish Cup Final. Well, that wasn't yesterday and that is difficult to take."

 

Although it may feel like yesterday to Irvine, so often does he get the chance to speak about it.

 

Celtic were going for their third Scottish Cup win in a row in 1990, Aberdeen aiming for a domestic cup double as they had earlier beaten Rangers in the Final of the Skol Cup - as the League Cup was named at the time.

 

There was nothing to split the teams in a rather ordinary final which didn't see a goal over the 90 minutes,nor in extra-time.

 

So for the first time in its history the competition was decided by penalties.

 

Both teams missed one of their allotted five and then the rest, those who didn't fancy being one of the original five, kept scoring, and scoring, and scoring.

 

Only two outfield players were left by the time Anton Rogan's effort was saved by Theo Snelders.

 

Then up stepped Aberdeen's big centre-half, who had probably never taken a penalty since leaving primary school.

 

Irvine said: "It does get brought up a lot. Do I mind? Not at all.

 

"I always like to hear the good things and that was the highlight of my career. To score in a situation like that and then look up to see the Aberdeen fans celebrate behind the goal - well, it's something I'll remember for the rest of my life.

 

"I'm not sure many would have picked me to be the one to take any penalty, never mind the very last one.

 

"Mind you, I think there was only the goalie to go after that so it had to be me.

 

"There was a bit of pressure off because Anton Rogan had missed just before me so even if I hadn't scored then it was still level.

 

"It would have been worse if Celtic were ahead and I had to score or we were beaten.

 

"I was actually pretty calm. But there were some nerves. I just tried to hide them, pick a spot and do my best. To see it go in was amazing.

 

"But that's a long time ago. For a club the size of Aberdeen to go 18 years without a Scottish Cup win is not good enough. I'd love to see them do it again. Aberdeen seemed to be in the Final every other year in the 1980s.

 

"It's changed days and the supporters are hurting. That's why Sunday is such a massive game."

 

Irvine is still a regular attender to matches at Pittodrie and can feel the hurt of the fans.

 

He has watched Aberdeen improve under Calderwood but the last trophy success was a League Cup win in 1995 - something that may come as a surprise to those who aren't fans of the club.

 

Few would give them much chance of doing it this time with Celtic hungry for the double.

 

But Irvine said: "If Aberdeen can start well and score the first goal, then who knows.

 

"You have to remember the last time Celtic came up here they won 5-1. But even then Aberdeen had chances early in the game.

 

"That's been about their biggest problem. They create opportunities, miss them and end up losing.

 

"I know better than anyone what it's like to win things for that club. The fans will love you forever because they are so grateful to have been able to enjoy some success.

 

"Aberdeen fans will hope they can beat Celtic, even if few others could say the same thing.

 

"From a sheer football perspective I have to be realistic and say I can't see Aberdeen get through."

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I agree as far as skill goes... but as far as determination and heart? - Irvine all the way!

 

The guy was brutal DD. He may have given his all for us, but it did not make him a good footballer, which is what matters in my book. People - and I do not know why - have rose tinted specs when it comes to "Dobbin". At the time, he was extremely far from being a fans favourite.

 

I even remember a cartoon in the "Northern Light", and it was a cross between Irvine and a Horse. He was depicted drinking from a trough, and then trying to kick a ball. Underneath that the caption said:

 

"It just goes to show, you can take a horse to water, but you can't make a centre half out of him."  

 

Harsh, but ultimately correct.

 

For the most part of his career with the Dons, he was carried by an outstanding team, and in particular an outstanding defence. The minute McLeish left us and I realised that Irvine would be our principal centre half, I very near soiled my pants. As I'd almost do numerous times the following season as Big Brian mis-judged another high ball to leave Theo horribly exposed again...

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He is a decent guy, and obviously has the Dons at heart and it's good to see someone fighting our corner in the press... even though he thinks we're going to get pumped on Sunday!  ;D

 

 

Don't we all? Maybe Derek Young will return and play a ball like Ronaldinho last night...? Ok, maybe not.  ::)

 

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Guest fatshaft

The guy was brutal DD. He may have given his all for us, but it did not make him a good footballer, which is what matters in my book. People - and I do not know why - have rose tinted specs when it comes to "Dobbin". At the time, he was extremely far from being a fans favourite.

 

I even remember a cartoon in the "Northern Light", and it was a cross between Irvine and a Horse. He was depicted drinking from a trough, and then trying to kick a ball. Underneath that the caption said:

 

"It just goes to show, you can take a horse to water, but you can't make a centre half out of him." 

 

Harsh, but ultimately correct.

 

For the most part of his career with the Dons, he was carried by an outstanding team, and in particular an outstanding defence. The minute McLeish left us and I realised that Irvine would be our principal centre half, I very near soiled my pants. As I'd almost do numerous times the following season as Big Brian mis-judged another high ball to leave Theo horribly exposed again...

Got to agree with Bobby, either many of you are too young, or it's so long ago you've become a bit dewy eyed. When I started reading this, I wondered if some of you would be saying the same of Considine in 20 years?
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Guest fatshaft

He is a decent guy, and obviously has the Dons at heart and it's good to see someone fighting our corner in the press... even though he thinks we're going to get pumped on Sunday!  ;D

And that's also true
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