1) Savour the moment because it won’t come
again in the modern era.
Other trophies might, but not in front of 40,000 of their supporters. The quirks of playing a final at a venue bigger than Hampden, and against such a modestly-supported team as Inverness Caley Thistle, meant the Dons could dominate to a degree that can’t be repeated – not unless Scotland land the Olympics and the national stadium is once again temporarily decommissioned.
Before Hampden’s redevelopment, Aberdeen’s Scottish Cup-winning crowds ranged from 53,788 (1982) to 62,970 the following year. In the same competition, there were 108,434 at the 1970 final and 126,102 in 1967 but you couldn’t say for sure that Aberdeen enjoyed a 50-50 split when the opposition were Jock Stein’s Celtic and in those days more neutrals attended the showpieces.
Also, it must be doubtful that crowds back then would have produced the unholy racket of Sunday’s 40,000, starved as they have been of success and luxuriating in their takeover of their rivals’ home, so every single player should remember the heat they generated, even five-minute Jonny Hayes, even Cammy Smith, the sub who was subbed.
2) Keep their talented young manager.
Many have tried to follow Sir Alex Ferguson, none has succeeded. Yes, Alex Smith and Roy Aitken brought silverware to Pittodrie but was anyone really talking about a renaissance under their stewardship like they have been for Derek McInnes’s Dons? There’s been more hype this time, but it comes with heft. McInnes would seem to have something. He has turned up at a club where Fergie-era legends have failed, shrugged off the unhappiness of his spell at Bristol City and collected a trophy before the first anniversary of his appointment. He’s an ex-Ranger, of course, and the Pittodrie faithful will not want to hear talk of him being destined for Ibrox one day. Let Terry Butcher and Stuart McCall fight that one out, they’ll say.
3) Keep their best players.
This is a difficult trick. When Motherwell finished second in the SPL last season, some of the reasons for them being best of the rest were no longer around come the next campaign. The Hibernian team which won the League Cup in 2007 were very quickly dismantled. Some good players are always going to want to further their ambition and so, like Steve Archibald, will always move. Aberdeen, if the revival is real, must convince as many as they can that by staying, or staying a little longer, they can be part of a successful story in the north-east. Hibs, to the eternal frustration of their fans, have always been a selling club. Aberdeen don’t need to be.
4) Get the whole city talking.
Within the granite walls of the older parts they will already be yabbering about this win, just like they did that incredible run of 11 trophies in seven years, but what about the new, blingy, shop-till-you-drop, don’t-quibble-about-the-price Aberdeen? There’s great wealth in the city, and plenty of leisure pounds which can’t all be spent in the Apple store.
5) Win the next game in Glasgow.
A trophy is a trophy, but arguably Aberdeen’s most important result of the season has been that Scottish Cup fifth-round win away to Celtic. Fergie drummed it into his team that if they were to alter the football landscape they had to overcome the knicker-wetting barrier of playing the Old Firm and beat them in their own backyard.
6) Don’t let Barry Robson even think about retiring.
The young bucks have been good and Willo Flood has been no less important to the midfield but Robbo, who is 35, seems to be the embodiment of this Aberdeen in his determination to stop mucking about, underachieving and living on past glories and start to achieve.
7 Thank the fans with a glamour friendly, admission free.
All through the mucking-about years, a hardcore of the support stayed loyal. Having to put up with mild abuse as well, they turned the opposition chants back on themselves and into celebrations – and turned your team’s home games against the Dons into rumbustious affairs. Once, apparently, these people only sang while they were fishing. That isn’t true anymore. The football nation should be grateful. They’ve brightened up some pretty dull afternoons.
8) Win the Scottish Cup as well.
The same Alex Smith we summed up rather abruptly in No 2 achieved the cup double, equalling Fergie’s feat of four years before. No pressure, then …