DEREK McInnes last night urged his players to embrace their date with destiny in next Sunday's League Cup final.
Speaking after his Aberdeen side outlasted Dumbarton 1-0 in the William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-finals to keep alive their hopes of a famous cup double, the Pittodrie manager said his team should feel encouraged, rather than intimidated, by the pressure which playing in front of 40,000 of their own supporters at Parkhead for the occasion will unavoidably bring.
Victory over Inverness Caledonian Thistle would bring the club's first major trophy for 19 years. "It is a huge encouragement for everybody involved," McInnes said of the unprecedented ticket sales.
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"There are people around the club who have been here a lot longer than I have who were anticipating between 25-28,000 so they have been surprised at the demand.
"When you are working for a club like Aberdeen with that level of support it does bring that pressure, but that pressure is why we are all in the game."
Adam Rooney, scorer of the all-important goal in yesterday's win against Dumbarton, can now concentrate on the meeting with his former team. "We focus on the next game and fortunately the next one is a big one," said Rooney.
"All last week the fans were queuing up for tickets and you can see the buzz about the town. We didn't want to let the fans down today who came and watched us.
"I really enjoyed my time there so it is a nice game for me to play in, a cup final against your old club," he added."
Also through to their second major semi-final of the season are St Johnstone, 3-1 winners at Raith Rovers. Rangers, Albion Rovers, Dundee United and Inverness will hope to join them in the draw for the last four today, while Dunfermline's draw with Stenhousemuir means the Ibrox club can win the SPFL League One title on Wednesday at home to Airdrie.