ABERDEEN manager Derek McInnes insists his players have the “swagger” and confidence needed to clinch their second League Cup success in four seasons.
The Dons will need to end Celtic’s unbeaten domestic record under Brendan Rodgers if they are to add to their 2014 triumph when they face the champions in the Betfred Cup final.
But McInnes feels he has the players to rise to the big occasion at Hampden on Sunday.
“I’m confident we have real good top performers in our team, and that we have some match-winners come Sunday and the players recognise they have as well,” he said.
“I see them every day and I see how dedicated and committed they are that we come back to Aberdeen really pleased with our performance and with a winners’ medal in our pocket.
“The players we have got here at the minute have more confidence, more swagger and more international and big-game experience players than we did going into the last cup final.”
Aberdeen went into the 2014 final as favourites against Inverness and were under pressure to end a 19-year wait for a trophy. But McInnes feels his players have put demands on themselves to bring more silverware to Pittodrie.
“I think for so many reasons we had to win,” he said of their penalty shoot-out triumph. “There was that added expectation, but we dealt with that.
“This is where our players want to be. I speak to them when I sign them, when I re-sign them, they all are at Aberdeen to win trophies and kick on in their careers.
“Sunday is a chance for them to show that and put Aberdeen in that position to win a trophy.”
The Dons have suffered two defeats against Celtic already this season and sit 10 points adrift in the league, but McInnes wants his team to show they are closer to Celtic than others claim.
“It’s clear there have been improvements at Celtic,” he said. “Their league form last season was good and they only lost three games, twice against us, but if they continue in a similar vein they are going to be out of sight.
“We recognise the strength of that, but every team is beatable and we certainly feel we are closer to them than maybe some people think. But it’s up for us to show that.
“It is important for us to plant that seed of doubt in them and it is important that we don’t think we are just going there and hoping Celtic don’t play well. We have to concentrate on our job.
“We have to play well, be fully concentrated, but we have to have a real confidence and belief in our own ability that we can go and win the thing.”
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