But having been second best to the Fife side for most of the evening, goalkeeper Jamie Langfield says the fact they were able to still salvage their late, late 1-0 victory proves there is some steel to the current squad and while he refuses to divulge their targets for the campaign, he does state that they are better placed to achieve this season.
During Craig Brown’s tenure the Pittodrie men have progressed deep into cup competitions, reaching three semi-finals but they were also ousted from last term’s Scottish Communities League Cup by lowly East Fife and that wasn’t the first time in recent history they had suffered the ignominy of dismissals from lower-tier opponents. As extra-time loomed large at East End Park, Langfield was simply hoping they weren’t about to add to the litany of embarrassing failures.
“There is more about us now,” said the keeper who had pulled off a couple of quality saves to keep his side in the tie. “We saw the previous night’s results and the SPL teams went through and we didn’t want to go out because we knew what would happen if we’d been beaten, people would have been all over us again. Thankfully we got the right result and we’re into the next round.”
Through to the quarter-finals, most clubs will now fancy their chances of going all the way but Langfield says history will prevent them from getting carried away. “At Aberdeen we never like to dream. Whenever we dream we seem to get a kick in the face, so we’ll just quietly go about our business. We’ve had two great results in the cup so far away to Morton and Dunfermline, hard games and we’ve come away with wins. We’re a lot stronger, we dig in. Dunfermline were brilliant but we got the result.”
The key was the introduction of seasoned pros Russell Anderson and Stephen Hughes, as well as the crucial input of fellow sub Scott Vernon and being able to add such experience from the bench is telling, says Langfield, who believes there is no doubt they have become a tougher core.
“We’re never going to say what we’re going to do, we’ll keep it in-house but we’re quietly determined to put things right. We’ve got a strong squad and people will say this and that about us but we’ll just get on with it and hopefully go about our business in the right manner. If you look at the defence, we were able to bring on Russell Anderson and he went into right-back.
“We have the likes of Gavin [Rae] and Isaac [Osbourne] in front of them. We are a steelier team, we didn’t play our best against Dunfermline but we’re a strong unit now and if we can keep the ball out of the net then we’ll start taking chances at the other end.”