Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes’s mind was catapulted back to his team’s last appearance at Hampden as he savoured the 3-2 Scottish Cup semi-final victory over Hibernian that brought the Pittodrie club only a third win in their past 12 appearances at the national stadium.
The eighth defeat in that sequence was the one-sided 3-0 loss to Celtic in the League Cup final five months ago and McInnes felt coming out on top yesterday, on the back of having a 2-0 lead wiped out, represented atonement that will give his team a crack at either Celtic or Rangers as they seek a first Scottish Cup success since 1990.
“Semis are all about getting through and hopefully we can learn from the experiences we’ve had,” he said.
“There’s nothing worse when you know you haven’t turned up – we spoke in the dressing room after that game that the only way to feel better about this result is immediately getting back to a final.
“And it’s only by revisiting finals, familiarising yourself with them, that you get used to them. It gives you a better chance of winning them and I’m hoping that’ll help us on May 27, regardless of who we play.
“Questions were being asked about us. No doubt you were all writing your reports about us having a wobble and we were,” he said.
“We tried to make some little adjustments and make the second half uneventful. We wanted to be more of a counter attacking team.
“The second goal was far too easy for them. It’s a give and go. We were too open and loose. We backed off and backed off…but I thought our experience showed at that point. A couple of years ago we might have lost.”