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McInnes cuts Aberdeen free from the past to reach new heights

For a club that is constantly reminded about its past, both the glories and the calamities, Aberdeen found the means to lay claim to a new future.

This was a team that had no wish to be associated with previous semi-final failures, and so they ruthlessly and authoritatively secured their place in the Scottish Communities League Cup final.

St Johnstone were clinically despatched at Tynecastle, and there was scant consolation in the knowledge that for periods of the first half they were the dominant side. Aberdeen won 4-0, and the scoreline was a reflection of their decisiveness, as well as their determination not to succumb to historical neuroses.

It was 2000 when Aberdeen last reached a cup final - when they lost to Rangers - with five semi-finals having passed since then in frustration and angst. The club's last trophy was in 1995, but there is a renewed sense of purpose about the team now under Derek McInnes.

"We can't affect what's happened in the past, whether it's talking about history that's been good or disappointing," the Aberdeen manager said. "This is our team, these boys' first chance of a final together and they deserve great credit for doing it at the first attempt, regardless of what's happened in the past at Aberdeen. They've got a fantastic work ethic, a great spirit and a great winning mentality. They're now 90 minutes away from lifting a trophy and we're looking forward to [the final].

"A lot of questions are always asked about Aberdeen teams when the level of support like this comes, when the expectations come, that we fall short. That's unfair to put that on these players, they've handled tough ties in this cup, they've not lost any goals, they've been very solid and consistent.

"We can win it, certainly. I'm always asked about previously successes and disappointments, but we can only affect what we can affect. The players have handled difficult situations already this season, they stepped up when they needed to."

Aberdeen scored after just three minutes through Johnny Hayes, and the winger scored the fourth goal in the second half, as well as creating the third for Adam Rooney. Peter Pawlett's goal just before half-time, after St Johnstone had enjoyed a spell of dominance, was the decisive blow in many respects.

Russell Anderson, the veteran defender, praised McInnes for the way he prepared the side last week. The routine was kept familiar and low key, and previous upsets were never mentioned. This was an Aberdeen side that was not weighed down by its history, or the expectations of a large support, which filled three of Tynecastle's four stands.

"That's how he approaches every game, so we won't get carried away with ourselves," Anderson said.

For St Johnstone, the overriding reaction was one of regret. The early goal was a setback, but not a decisive one. Where they fell short was in being unable to take advantage of the period when they were on top. Lee Croft ought to have equalised, but pulled his shot wide when he only had Jamie Langfield to beat.

"We put a lot into the game and ended up with nothing," said Tommy Wright, the St Johnstone manager. "The scoreline is extremely harsh on the players because I felt we played well."

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