RUSSELL ANDERSON was a fresh-faced 21-year-old the last time Aberdeen were in a national cup final. He could not have imagined it would take the club so long to return to another.
That day Aberdeen were never in it and the defeat at the hands of Rangers in the Scottish Cup showcase was a formality from the moment Jim Leighton was stretchered off in the opening minutes. Since then, the Pittodrie club have tried on five occasions to make it beyond the semi-final stage in knock-out competitions. Five times they have failed.
But, happy to have secured the chance to win the club’s first trophy since 1995, captain Anderson said he felt no pressure to make up for any of those disappointments.
“I can’t remember [that final], it was so long ago. It didn’t pan out the way we would have liked but in terms of absolving anything, there’s an awful lot of football been played since then so it’s not the way I will be looking at it. It will be a game in its own right and like I said it’s the opportunity for us to win a cup.
“The club has had to endure those defeats but there are an awful lot of players here who haven’t and the manager wasn’t there either. When you have new people coming in, there aren’t many who are left who are associated with those defeats so I don’t think it weighs on their minds as much.
“The manager has not mentioned it once this week – it’s been remarkably low key, just like any other game, and credit to the manager for that because it definitely helped.
“The front four were clinical, they were breathtaking at times and the support, I’ve said it every time at away games this season, it was incredible. You couldn’t hear yourself talk to to your team-mate next to you.”
For St Johnstone it was another day of hurt as they suffered their seventh successive semi-final defeat but, according to defender Dave Mackay, this one was as unpalatable as any.
“It is the best we have probably played in a semi-final during my time at the club and we’ve lost it 4-0.
“I’ve played against Rangers twice and against Motherwell. That was the worst, it was 3-0 and we could have lost ten. But here, for an hour anyway, I thought we played pretty well. Even at 1-0 you could hear their fans getting a bit frustrated and, if we could have equalised at that point, it might have been a different game. But we gave away bad goals and at this level you can’t do that.”