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McInnes: 'We want two cup finals'

Derek McInnes yesterday ditched his "one game at a time" mantra and challenged his Aberdeen players to sweep all before them in their quest to reach a second cup final this season.

The Aberdeen manager is usually reluctant to discuss any game which is not his side's next, but he now believes his men have caught the scent of victory in their efforts to reward their rejuvenated supporters. Some 40,000 of them will cheer them on in the League Cup final against Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Celtic Park next weekend.

But while McInnes will turn his attention first to the visit of Dumbarton in their William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final at Pittodrie tomorrow, he insists that next week's big event could not be ignored. "We don't want to ignore it as we want to enjoy the experience," he said. "When you come to work and see the supporters queuing from early on it's a reminder and a sense of encouragement for what we can do.

"It motivates me and it must motivate the players even more that they want to get to another cup final this season. I've no doubts that, regardless of how next week's game against Caley Thistle goes, it will just whet the appetites of the players again.

"Sometimes, after playing in a cup final, it might take a long time to come round again so it's great to have the chance to get to another one really quickly. It's important that we realise that and if we don't see that bigger picture then we will have a really tough match on our hands. I expect the players here will be itching to make it to a Scottish Cup final as well as the League Cup one and we have to realise that opportunity."

McInnes is not reckless enough to discount his opponents from the SPFL Championship though. He was aware that the focus must not stray from their visit, as Dumbarton provide a threat to his side.

"They have good players with a decent level of experience blended with some good youngsters and all the reports we've had reflect that," he added. "They have scored the most goals in the Championship this season and they will be determined to make sure their cup experience doesn't end at Pittodrie."

Meanwhile, Doug Rougvie, forever to be accorded the status of a Gothenburg Great by supporters - courtesy of his role in the side that lifted the Eurpean Cup-Winners' Cup under Alex Ferguson in 1983 - praised McInnes for leading the side out of a trophyless wilderness stretching back to 1995 when Roy Aitken led them to the League Cup in his first managerial job. Rougvie stressed that it was Ferguson, though, who changed the thinking at the club when he arrived in 1978, even if the pair had an acrimonious parting.

"I had been there six years before Ferguson came in," he recalled. "He changed the mentality; he gave us a cause. Are Aberdeen favourites for both cups? Well, maybe not favourites, but I think they are favourites going down to Parkhead next week.

"It's scary that Aberdeen haven't won a trophy for 19 years; it is about time [they did so]. We should [always] be competing but we have had a few disasters. Ebbe Skovdahl made us the worst team in Europe at one stage but the fans still loved him for some reason. Alex Miller was another one; he tried to bury us. But we survived that as well. Thank goodness that has all gone now."

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