Hampden has regularly resounded with the roars of acclaim for the greats of a nation but yesterday it was the scene for softly rendered songs of praise for the unsung heroes.

Craig Brown, the last manager to take the national team to an international finals, was on duty to prompt nominations for the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.

He had several to propose and he also had more than a moment to praise those at Aberdeen who have taken the club to the League Cup final on Sunday.

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He was joined by Alex Smith, who won the Scottish Cup with both St Mirren and Aberdeen, and who won a League Cup with Aberdeen in 1989.

Brown immediately nominated his colleague for a place in the Hall of Fame, citing both his club work and his scouting duties at St Mirren, Aberdeen, Falkirk and at international level.

But the former Scotland manager was insightful on who has helped Aberdeen progress to within touching distance of a cup.

"Derek is on his way to being manager of the year," he said of McInnes. "The next day after I'd decided I was leaving I got an A4 sheet from the chairman and was asked to have a look at it.

"He told me I'd be involved in the recruitment process. That was reassuring but I said that if I didn't like the manager coming in then I wouldn't be staying. Obviously I do. Derek's appointment was hugely supported by me."

However, Brown pointed out that McInnes was blessed in having an excellent deputy.

"Never underestimate the role of the No.2," he said. "Tony Docherty worked with me at the SFA and is outstanding - as a coach and a guy. The chemistry between the two of them is excellent and their skills complement each other."

Brown also identified an unsung hero in the playing staff. Though Adam Rooney and Peter Pawlett receive most of the plaudits, Brown said: "Jamie Langfield makes a save in every game, but doesn't get that much praise. But these have been saves of significance that have helped them stay in games or win them.

"I remember the first League Cup game against Alloa. Langfield made two saves in that game when it went to extra-time and then made another brilliant save when it was 5-5 in the penalty shoot-out. That was what set the ball rolling in this competition."

But Brown reserved his strongest commendation for Stewart Milne, the Aberdeen chairman who has been buffeted and bruised by criticism in the past. "He is a wholesome guy, what you see is what you get," Brown said. "He never interferes but if you suffer a bad loss he tells you it wasn't good enough. If you do well, he'll thank you for giving him a decent weekend. He is a real football guy. It's very harsh for anyone to criticise him after what he has put into Aberdeen."

Brown revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson had given Milne the highest of references. "When I was at Motherwell, I took a call from Fergie," he said. "It was just by coincidence but I told him that Aberdeen were phoning me. He said: 'That man [Milne] is outstanding to work for.' He's never worked for the chairman but had obviously heard."