Aberdeen will look for inspiration to crack Dundee United code

The famous new manager bounce. That’s what every club keeps its fingers crossed for when they change the main man in the dugout. For Aberdeen, after eight years of Derek McInnes, the hope is that Stephen Glass can instantly bring Scottish Cup glory.

Stephen Glass is hoping to guide Aberdeen to Scottish Cup glory.

Two matches into Glass’ tenure and there is a little bit of optimism within the Dons support. The style of play has not changed dramatically, but last Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Celtic, when they were seconds away from a vital win, and the previous weekend’s penalty shoot-out triumph over Livingston at least brought goals and an improvement in confidence levels.

Under McInnes, Aberdeen had become shrouded in negativity, even taking into account his past successes. Glass is a fresh face with fresh ideas. Beating Dundee United today at Pittodrie in the most important New Firm derby for some time will secure a trip to Hampden and a place in the semi-finals. It would also maintain the feelgood factor and enhance the club’s Europa League prospects, given that Aberdeen trail Hibs by six points in the Premiership with three games to spare. Unless Rangers win the cup, the league will only bring Europa Conference League football.

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Busting a gut for new boss

Micky Mellon is wary of Aberdeen's change in style under Glass.

"When a new manager comes in there has to be a response from us as players,” said defender Tommie Hoban, one of the stand-out performers in Glass’ reconfigured Aberdeen team.

"Everyone is trying to impress, secure their spot in the team and I think there definitely has been a reaction in the last couple of weeks and his methods are starting to show in performances.

"The more we get out on the training pitch and the more he is able to get across the way he wants us to play and the more we practise it, the better we are going to get.

"It won't happen overnight, it will take time and you might not see the full effects until next season, after a pre-season.

Ross Doohan have been signed on emergency loan by Dundee United.

"But as the next few weeks go on I'm sure we will keep improving, playing the way he wants us to play and I think that will be good enough, hopefully, to get us a trophy at the end of the season."

So much more to give

The general consensus on Aberdeen this season is that, with the resources available, they have underachieved. A rotten spell before McInnes was sacked brought just one goal in eight games. Supporters became totally disenchanted by the style of football on show. Hoban believes the group at Pittodrie has much more to offer.

"We know the quality within the squad, we believe we are good enough to go all the way and win it,” he added.

Tommie Hoban has impressed for Aberdeen recently.

"Obviously we need a bit of luck along the way, but everyone always does. We have to get to the final and there are obviously some good teams still in there, but on our day I think we can beat anyone.

"There has been a turnaround in the last few weeks and people are really buying into the way we are trying to play under the new manager and performances have been overall quite good as well.

"We are still going to keep improving and I think it is going to be an exciting end to the season and there is no reason we can't believe we can lift that trophy."

Not scored against the Arabs

Aberdeen, however, will not have it all their own way against Dundee United. In the three meetings so far with Micky Mellon’s well-organised and resolute team, they have not found the net, losing 1-0 at Tannadice last month.

That meeting was under interim manager Paul Sheerin and Mellon knows it will be a different Aberdeen they will be coming up against.

“There will be different ways that he wants to achieve certain things, there is no doubt about that,” Mellon said.

“Every manager is different. There will be certain ways he wants to defend, certain ways he wants to attack, and how he wants to do that.

“We will have seen enough evidence to let our players know what they are trying to achieve when they get the ball and what we can do when you've got the ball. I expect differences because every manager has a different style.”

Emergency loan from Celtic

United's Adrian Sporle has netted the only goal of those three encounters this season. United have themselves found goals reasonably hard to come by, with strikers Nicky Clark, Lawrence Shankland and Marc McNulty not quite igniting this term.

However, they have been helped out by a miserly and robust defence, although they are without first-choice goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist, who has an injured wrist. Deniz Mehmet is likely to deputise, with emergency loan signing from Celtic, young goalkeeper Ross Doohan, to take his place on the bench. Despite that, one can expect a pretty cagey encounter, especially with so much at stake.

And regardless of his selection issues, Mellon is looking forward to another intriguing tussle.

“I felt the first time we played Aberdeen, Aberdeen were excellent, and we dug in and got a result, but we had to dig in,” said Mellon, whose side's last three matches have come on the artificial pitches of Hamilton, Forfar and Kilmarnock.

“Up at Pittodrie we did well and we might just have shaded it. Again it was a tight game down here and we managed to budge the result.

“The games have always been tight and well-contested. I enjoy the games against Aberdeen, I enjoy competing against Aberdeen the way the games go.

"I am looking forward to a good game of football and it will be lovely to be back on grass.”

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