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Last puzzle piece slots in perfectly

WAYNE ROONEY described Sunday as one of the worst days of his life.

Adam Rooney savours that winning feeling at Celtic Park
Adam Rooney savours that winning feeling at Celtic Park

Adam Rooney enjoyed it just a smidgen more. At the same time as his English namesake was enduring Manchester United's 3-0 thumping at home to Liverpool, the Irish Rooney, pictured below, was converting the winning penalty in the League Cup final shoot-out to deliver Aberdeen their first trophy in 19 years. For someone who signed for the club less than two months previously, this was a pretty good way to make an instant impression on 40,000 delirious supporters.

There were no guarantees of silverware when Rooney moved north from Oldham at the end of January but the former Inverness Caledonian Thistle striker could tell which way the wind was blowing. Aberdeen were a team revitalised under Derek McInnes, second in the SPFL Premiership table, and still involved in both cup competitions. A centre-forward capable of sharing the goalscoring responsibility heaped on Niall McGinn's shoulders was in many ways the final piece of the jigsaw and so far Rooney has slotted in perfectly. Six goals in just nine games have underlined his pedigree, while his perfectly executed penalty demonstrated he is a man for the pressure situations.

"The lads had been on a great run before I came in," said the 25 year-old. "It was a club that was going in the right direction and thankfully it has continued to do that. I knew it was a big club in Scotland but in the last number of years it has been under-achieving and finishing down the league.

"It is a bit of a sleeping giant. This is a great reward for the supporters who have had to put up with a couple of years without achieving any silverware. It is a football-mad city and there is only one club. You can see that with the support they have given us."

The Aberdeen players had been well drilled by McInnes to ensure they did not start speaking about the prospect of a cup double following Sunday's success but Rooney admitted it could be the start of something special at Pittodrie.

"The manager spoke beforehand about the great players that have played here at Pittodrie. There are pictures of them on the walls at the club and we wanted to add to that.

"We have to make sure this is not the end, it is only the beginning. With the young lads who have signed up for the future as well as the manager and Doc [assistant Tony Docherty], we have to make sure we keep progressing over the years and improving."

Rooney's pre-match preparations had included watching Ireland's Six Nations rugby success over France on Saturday night, the subsequent cup triumph making it the perfect build-up to St Patrick's Day for the affable Dubliner. "It has been a good weekend all round for the Irish. It was great, especially for them to win in Brian O'Driscoll's last game. Coming into St Paddy's Day, I'm sure Dublin was rocking."

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