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Smith in it for the long haul and happy to be tied down

Aberdeen fans of a certain vintage will recall a precocious teenager called Eoin Jess announcing himself on the national consciousness during the 1989 League Cup final against Rangers.

By the age of 18, Cammy Smith has already enjoyed moderate exposure to the Pittodrie first team, but apart from that minor detail, it is not too far-fetched to imagine something similar transpiring for him at Celtic Park this Sunday.

While Peter Pawlett is generally expected to recover from the knock which kept him out of the match squad for Saturday's 1-0 William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-final win against Dumbarton, he has not been "ruled in or ruled out yet" and Smith did little in that role behind Adam Rooney to dissuade Derek McInnes from allowing him to be part of the first side from the Granite City to contest a major final since 2000.

"I'll be ready for whenever the manager needs me and hopefully I'll be in the frame," said Smith. "For me to be involved in a final, or go and win something for Aberdeen, would be massive because I'm a local boy who has come through the ranks. I've been brought up in the city but everyone in the squad wants to be in that squad."

The forward, whose first touch was once compared, rather unhelpfully perhaps, to that of Dutch legend Dennis Bergkamp by former manager Craig Brown, is one of a number of players with a long-term deals at Pittodrie.

McInnes is clearly determined that this emergent Aberdeen side should not be one-season wonders. "A few young boys have left Aberdeen in recent years to play in England but it would mean everything to me to stay and win something for the club," Smith said. "I want to achieve things here before I even think about looking elsewhere. I'm only 18 and I've got years to go here before I maybe progress my career down south.

"The manager and Doc [assistant manager Tony Docherty] have come in and been brilliant," he added. "But I think it's important to try and keep a lid on things. It's still only March and we haven't won anything yet. The season is still in the balance - it could all go great, or all go wrong.

"But we do feel something special could be happening. That's why some of the boys have already committed their long-term future to the club. Myself, Mark Reynolds, Peter Pawlett, Jamie Langfield, Johnny Hayes are all tied on long-term contracts. The manager has told us he wants us to be remembered as a team who have achieved for this city over the period of a few years."

In excess of 40,000 footsoldiers from the Red Army will occupy the East End of Glasgow for the first stage of the journey, symptomatic of a city yearning to end their 19-year trophy drought.

"The city is buzzing at the moment," said Smith "I always knew we had that fan base. When we're doing well, the supporters come out in huge numbers.

"The players deserve that because their performances have been good. It's been brilliant for us so far, really rewarding.

"Hopefully it will get even better in the next few weeks. We haven't done it yet but we've given ourselves a great chance."

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