DEREK McINNES has pledged to do all he can to bring further silverware to Pittodrie.
McInnes became the first Aberdeen manager in 19 years to lift a major trophy after guiding his side to victory over Inverness Caledonian Thistle in Sunday's League Cup final. The achievement sparked celebrations all across the north-east and will be officially marked with an open-top bus parade through the city's streets on Sunday.
Aberdeen could yet add another trophy to the cabinet this season in the form of the William Hill Scottish Cup. They take on St Johnstone in the semi-final on April 13, with the winner meeting either Rangers or Dundee United in the final at Celtic Park on May 17.
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Aberdeen are the bookmakers' favourites to lift the trophy and, although he is not making any cast-iron promises, McInnes felt that the club was now in a good position to regularly challenge for honours once more. "I don't think anyone at the club thinks that this is just going to be the one bit of success," he said. "I think we've got to keep fighting on all fronts but obviously there's a belief there within the support that we can at least be competing.
"That's all we wanted to do - to get the club to a respectable level again and at least challenging. We've seen other clubs outwith the Old Firm have relative success, whether that's through cups or being in Europe because of their league form. That's all we're trying to do - get in amongst it and get in a fight and it's pleasing that we've got that.
"We've got another two fights to try and do well in. We've got to do as well as we can in terms of the European spots in the league and obviously there's the Scottish Cup as well where we've a tough match against St Johnstone. But we feel we've as a good a chance as any of the teams that are left in it."
Aberdeen took 40,000 fans to Sunday's final and, while McInnes does not expect such numbers on a regular basis, he believes there is scope to increase the numbers turning out at Pittodrie on a fortnightly basis. "I do feel we've got a great core support," he added. "Home gates have gone up by a few thousand this season but we still feel there's more to come there. It will be interesting to see how many
season tickets we sell.
"We realised on Sunday there was a load of people who were there for the first time. That's what cup finals bring - people who aren't there week-in, week-out. And I'm sure they enjoyed watching the team win. It's important we get
as many in the door as possible.
Every club is the same but we are fortunate we've got strong backing home and away and we've got to work hard to maintain that."
McInnes revealed Sunday's celebration had been an inclusive affair, with everyone at the club made to feel they had played a part in the success. "It was a good bus journey home as you could imagine, a very noisy one. It was great to see it like that - the players celebrating among each other. All the families were waiting for us back at the hotel but we'd a chance to celebrate it first together which was nice.
"Everyone who works at the club was at the hotel. The chairman was really keen to have that - it was something he had requested when we were discussing preparations. He felt it was right that everyone could celebrate it together - from the groundsman, the people in the ticket office and the like. They were all there with their families and it was just good to reflect and enjoy
a good day's work."
McInnes was also looking forward to savouring the bus parade.
"I did it at West Brom [when he
won promotion as a player] and
at St Johnstone [when he won promotion as manager]. We've all seen the pictures of previous teams of Aberdeen being successful and going down Union Street with these huge crowds. I'm sure at some point the players have thought about that. It's another chance
for us all to celebrate together back in Aberdeen."
This time last year McInnes was filling his time with media work having been sacked as Bristol City manager. Those experiences have given him a degree of perspective.
"The day of the League
Cup final I was doing radio co-commentary on the Dundee derby which was an early
kick-off. I listened on the radio on the way back down the road. You learn when things are going
well and when they are going not so well. You use different experiences to try and improve."