Aberdeen captain Graeme Shinnie has set his sights on completing a Glasgow treble to finish a season in which the Pittodrie club have firmly reinforced their status as the second force in Scottish football.
As he savoured Wednesday night’s landmark victory over Rangers at Ibrox – the Dons’ first success in that fixture for almost 26 years – Shinnie insisted he and his team-mates are unconcerned by the reputation they had previously earned for flunking their major tests in Glasgow.
The midfielder is simply focused on their next two games in the city as they wrap up their Premiership campaign against Partick Thistle at Firhill on Sunday then travel to Hampden the following Saturday for the Scottish Cup final against Celtic.
Shinnie shrugged aside questions about whether Aberdeen are now in the process of destroying a stereotype which has haunted them for so many years when it comes to the big occasions in Scotland’s biggest football city.
“We are just doing our jobs,” said 25-year-old Shinnie. “We came to Ibrox to win, just like we do at every other ground. People will talk about us – that’s part and parcel of football. We just look to do our business the best we can and we’ve done that.
“How people see us is out of our hands. People are going to question us and football is all about opinions, but we don’t let that come into the dressing room. The team spirit is brilliant. If we want to look at anything, look at the Scottish Cup semi-final against Hibs at Hampden last month. A lot of people would have said we could have bottled that, but we didn’t.
“Who knows if the chat about us will end now? There could be another game and opinions will start again. That’s football and everyone has got their own opinions, but we stick together and try and do our job.
“We’ve got Thistle coming up on Sunday and we want to do well to keep the momentum going coming into the cup final. It’s been a good season so far and we’ve cemented second place which we were desperate to do. Confidence is high. We know the task ahead of us – we will deal with Partick Thistle first and then concentrate on the final.”
Shinnie was outstanding at Ibrox, scoring the first goal in a 2-1 win over Rangers which was far more convincing than the scoreline suggests. He says he was not taken aback by the level of his team’s dominance for much of the evening against Pedro Caixinha’s side.
“I wasn’t surprised,” he added. “We are second in the league for a reason and we wanted to go out and show that. We were disappointed to be only 2-0 up and then disappointed to concede a goal because it gave Rangers momentum with the crowd lifting them. But even after that I thought we still created chances.
“The team played very well. We are maybe disappointed with losing a goal and not to score a few more goals. It was a lovely pitch which suited us and we played some good stuff. We knew we could pass it about on a nice pitch. It’s been a while since Aberdeen won at Ibrox and we were desperate to win and it showed in our performance.”
Shinnie claims Caixinha’s pre-match comments, in which he suggested Aberdeen were reaching the end of a successful cycle under manager Derek McInnes, had no influence on their performance.
“No, we don’t listen to that,” he said. “We prepare all week for the game. Over the course of the season, we deserve to be second and that’s down to the hard work of the management team and the players.
“The last time we were at Ibrox earlier this season we ended up losing 2-1, but we had a couple of chances that if they had gone in it would have been a completely different game. The recent one at Pittodrie, when we lost 3-0 to Rangers, we were disappointed with the way it ended because we deserved better. So we took that coming into Wednesday’s game and we knew if we played to the top of our game we could win.
“It shows what the manager has done here that we have finished second in the table again. We have a couple of players leaving this summer and one set to come in. We will build on the squad and strengthen and come back in pre-season, enjoy the Europa League games and be ready to go again.”