Derek McInnes believes Aberdeen are among a clutch of teams who will be disappointed if they do not lift the Scottish Cup this season.
The Pittodrie side took care of Dundee United as expected yesterday to set up a home quarter-final tie against in-from Kilmarnock.
With Celtic’s league dominance likely to continue, the cup is Aberdeen’s last real hope of silverware this season. They reached the final last year only to lose out to a last-minute winner from Celtic’s Tom Rogic.
McInnes was delighted Aberdeen were rewarded with a home tie in the next round following their efforts yesterday on a difficult, bobbly surface.
Two goals from former Tannadice winger Gary Mackay-Steven helped see off United, who can now concentrate on re-igniting their Championship title ambitions.
“I said before the competition started that there will be loads of teams who will feel this is their year, especially now with only eight teams left,” said McInnes afterwards. “But there are only a few clubs – and I include ourselves in that – who will be disappointed if they don’t win it.
“I feel we are a team that can go and win it. We need to use the experience, good and bad, of Hampden and semi-finals and finals.
“We visited Hampden four times last season and that is great in terms of familiarity. This draw is one that both teams, ourselves and Kilmarnock, will see as a great opportunity to get to the semi-final. It will be a tough game.
“Last season, we came up against a special Celtic team and there was no shame in coming second best to a very good side. It took until the 93rd minute to separate us and I liked the attitude of my team and our support that day. It looked as if we were getting used to those surroundings. I just want to get back there again and hopefully go one better and actually bring the trophy home.”
United have no such hopes, this season at least. They are left to focus on eating into the 14-point lead St Mirren have established over them at the top of the Championship.
United manager Csaba Laszlo took some comfort from the fact that United drew the second half 1-1 after falling 3-1 behind in the first-half.
“Hopefully we come back to Aberdeen as a direct league opponent next season – that is our wish,” said Laszlo. “Of course doing well in the cup can lift the spirit. But the spirit is already there – you saw that from the second half.”
He added: “We gave up two very easy goals and that maybe killed us. I was confident when we pulled it back to 2-1 that we could hold that scoreline until the break and let us reorganise. But we gave away a poor third goal and have to defend that better.”