The big English forward was sent on by Derek McInnes for Andrew Considine in the second half of extra time against Inverness at Celtic Park on Sunday and capped a brief but lively contribution with an expertly taken spot-kick during the shoot-out which delivered Aberdeen their first major trophy in 19 years.
Vernon has enjoyed similar occasions before, but he rates the scenes at Parkhead in front of 40,000 celebrating Aberdeen fans among the best of his career. “I have won promotion with Blackpool and Colchester going from the League One into the Championship. The Blackpool win was through the play-offs so it was a bit similar to Aberdeen winning the League Cup final.
“I’ve been lucky because I’ve had a few moments like that in my career and for some people days like that don’t often come around. That is why I have been telling all the young lads to savour this League Cup win because it might not ever happen again.”
“It is amazing,” he added. “I have said to a few of the boys that it still hasn’t really sunk in yet. You have to try and bottle it up and keep experiences like this with you. You dream of days like that. It was a great day for us, the fans and the club in general. Everybody connected with Aberdeen has waited such a long time for a day like Sunday. We are just really happy that we produced on the day.”
With competition for places fierce within McInnes’s squad, Vernon has had to be content with regular cameo roles from the bench, and he was happy to step up to the plate when he was required again in the 108th minute on Sunday.
“He was giving me little instructions of where he wanted me to be and where to press [but] he never said anything about the penalties. Maybe that was in his mind or he wanted to try and nick a goal in the last five minutes I put myself forward to take one and it worked.”
Vernon, 30, joined the club in 2010, but is out of contract in the summer and now hopes to extend his stay at Pittodrie into the 2014-15 season. “Definitely, I want to stay at Aberdeen,” he said. “The gaffer is trying to do something here at Aberdeen. He is implementing what he wants and everybody in the dressing room desperately wants to be a part of that. I am no different.
“We will see how it goes between now and the end of the season. We are all professionals and we will keep trying to finish second and to try and win the Scottish Cup as well.”