It is amazing to think it is 18 years since Aberdeen last won a trophy.

I was part of that League Cup- winning side in 1996 under Roy Aitken and for a club the size of Aberdeen, it is far too long a wait for silverware.

Now Derek McInnes's team are suddenly favourites to lift the Scottish Communities League Cup this season, with Rangers and Celtic both out, although you'd imagine every side still in the competition will be thinking they have a real chance.

While the likes of Hearts and Hibernian, the clubs we would regard as the other major forces in the Scottish game, have had a bit of success in either the League Cup or Scottish Cup in recent years, there has been nothing for Aberdeen - and you just feel that this is the season where the support will demand it. They have had their hopes built up before with so many false dawns and disappointments in semi-finals and finals.

However, you just feel this might be the season where they deliver something. I said at the start of the campaign that I felt Aberdeen had it in them to finish second in the league, and I stand by that.

I know Derek and his assistant Tony Docherty and I know how they work - they pay great attention to detail, they know what's required, and know how to get the best out of players.

There were some good players at Aberdeen when I was there, and really nice lads, but when things got tough and the supporters were giving them pelters for poor performances there were just far too many who went into their shells and couldn't handle it.

It has been like that for a long time at Pittodrie and it is a demanding club to play for. That is why I felt the addition of Barry Robson and Willo Flood this summer was always going to be a big thing for them.

I know these guys have been out of the team for the last few games, but when they have been playing they have shown the younger, more inexperienced lads how you win games and stick it out even if individually you are not playing well.

To me, the example they set has been hugely instrumental in the creating the belief and confidence Aberdeen are playing with now. I watched them demolish Falkirk during the week and felt they were thoroughly professional and went about the game with the right attitude. What really shone through was the assurance they had in themselves and one another.

I saw Aberdeen play poorly against St Johnstone earlier in the season when they were held to a 0-0 draw and I also watched the League Cup game against Alloa where they got through on penalties.

This time last season these were the kind of games they might not have been getting anything from. Instead, the likes of Flood and Robson have shown guys like Scott Vernon that you need to you snap at the heels of people; you keep wanting the ball and you keep going into tackles even when things aren't going that great for you.

Other players, such as Jamie Langfield, seem to have taken on more responsibility too. Jamie isn't making the kind of mistakes he used to make and is playing well. When your goalkeeper is in that kind of form it spreads a bit of confidence through your back four.

Of course, if you are going to do anything over the course of a season then you need to be consistent. You need to be getting results and points and there are times when you need to win ugly. But Aberdeen have given themselves a platform to go and build on.

I still feel Inverness Caledonian Thistle are also in with a shout of getting their hands on the League Cup but Aberdeen's barren run has gone on for too long. It is an appalling length of time for a club of their stature not to have had anything of note to celebrate. Now they have it within their hands to go and make their mark this season.

I covered the Scotland women's World Cup qualifier against Bosnia for BBC Scotland on Thursday night and was genuinely surprised at the quality on offer. I have to hold my hands up and admit I have always been a bit of a chauvinist when it comes to women's football.

But what I saw on Thursday has changed my perception completely - and it also hammered home to me just how vital sports science and nutrition has become for all athletes.

A few years back I saw snippets of the women's game and thought some of the players were carrying a bit of weight - as did many of the men in years gone by - and the pace and tempo of games wasn't anywhere near what you'd expect.

All of a sudden they have really got it right. The players looked lean, toned and athletic, and you can tell how much strength and conditioning work they have been doing.

Kim Little and Lisa Evans were outstanding and I'd tell you right now that Lisa would give any of the full-backs in the SPFL a run for their money. The difference in standard was unbelievable and I'd love to see them go on and qualify for the World Cup, as big an ask as that may prove to be.