Aberdeen remain on course to clinch a third consecutive runners-up spot in the Premiership despite Tuesday’s surprise defeat at Hamilton, but only denying Celtic the treble by winning the Scottish Cup will make it a successful season as far as Adam Rooney is concerned.
Derek McInnes recently dismissed talk of a move to Rangers given his conviction there was much more his current squad of players could achieve and it is a belief shared by the prolific striker.
That was a key factor in the Dubliner extending his contract until the summer of 2020 earlier this season, much to the delight of the Dons supporters who have seen Rooney score 73 goals in just over three years at Pittodrie.
Ironically the most significant strike of them all doesn’t count in that tally as it came with the decisive penalty of their shootout victory against his former club Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the 2013-14 League Cup final.
If that was the highlight of his time at Aberdeen so far then there’s no doubting the low point was last November’s final of the same competition when Celtic cruised to a 3-0 win at Hampden Park. Rooney admits that was a crushing disappointment but one they are now using as a major motivating factor for ending a 27-year wait to lift the Scottish Cup since Brian Irvine was the unlikely hero in a shootout victory over Celtic.
They might not have been able to prevent Brendan Rodgers’ side completing the first two legs of the domestic treble but Rooney is determined Partick Thistle won’t deny them the chance to make it third time lucky and prove they are the real deal.
“We’ve broken records in terms of points picked up, and finishing second in the league is a great achievement, but trophies are a real marker of success,” said Rooney.
“After the League Cup final, we said straight away that we wanted to get to the final of the Scottish Cup. That’s one of the main things we took away from that defeat as we wanted to use the disappointment we felt to fuel us.
“The best way to get over things like that, things you don’t forget, is to go and win the next time. We wanted to give ourselves another chance and so far we’ve done what we needed to do. We know it’s going to be a difficult game against Partick as they are on a good run at the minute. We’re expecting a tough game but our target is to get through to that final. We’re confident we can win it, we just have to make sure we get past this round.”
History, both ancient and modern, suggests that is the likely outcome as Partick’s only win in eight attempts against the Dons in the Scottish Cup was way back in 1930 when someone called Willie Miller scored one of their goals. Their recent league form in the fixture isn’t much better as Aberdeen have won seven in an unbeaten run of nine games against the Jags with the latest coming just last month in a 2-0 victory at Pittodrie. However, the Firhill side have registered four straight wins without conceding a goal since then and McInnes will be without the injured trio of Jonny Hayes, Mark Reynolds and captain Ryan Jack for the tie.
Jayden Stockley, who scored in that recent meeting, does return though and Rooney is confident of adding to his 17 goals already this season as he added:“They have had a few clean sheets, but we are capable of breaking that down.
“We’re also fairly strong at home, so we’re confident going into the game. We respect the run they are on but we can’t think too much about that, we have to focus on ourselves.”