Evening Express

Dom wants to shed Aberdeen agonies of Scots cup runs

Dom Ball in action for Aberdeen against West Brom

Aberdeen midfielder Dom Ball is determined to end his semi heartache and reach a final at Hampden this season.

The 23-year-old returned to Aberdeen this summer on a season long loan deal from Rotherham United.

Ball also spent last season on loan at Pittodrie and having been at Rangers in 2015-16 is now into his third year in Scotland.

He wants a trophy with the Dons to show for that with the first step a Betfred Cup second round clash with St Mirren at Pittodrie today.

Ball suffered semi-final disappointment last season when starting the 3-0 loss to Motherwell in the Scottish Cup at Hampden.

While at Rangers, he helped the Ibrox club reach the Scottish Cup final after a penalty shoot-out triumph over Celtic.

Ball picked up a yellow card against the Hoops and it was only when the team were on the bus leaving the national stadium that he was given the devastating news that card ruled him out of the final through suspension.

This season, the former Tottenham trainee is determined not only to reach a final but lift the Reds’ first trophy since 2014.

To take the first step towards that, Ball will have to pitch in at right-back to help the Reds cope with a rearguard dilemma because four defenders are ruled out.

He said: “This is my third year in Scotland and I need to win something.

“I am confident with the squad we have here and with confidence growing every game, we have a good chance of doing that.

“It has been disappointing with the semi-finals and we didn’t get there last year in the Scottish Cup.

“Finishing second in the Premiership last season was good but we still didn’t win a trophy.

“Lifting a cup is one of our aims for this season.”

Ball will again slot into the right back role today to fill in the position open through the suspension of Shaleum Logan.

Boss Derek McInnes’ back-line has been decimated with three defenders out injured.

Scotland international centre-back Scott McKenna is out for six weeks with a hamstring tear while on-loan Watford stopper Tommie Hoban has a knee injury but could return to face Hibs next week.

Centre-back Mark Reynolds is out for six months having recently undergone knee surgery.

Ball said: “I am comfortable playing there (at right-back) and have enjoyed it.

“There have been times I have played at right back and maybe not performed as well but I need to go and do the job. I will do it to the best of my ability..

“It has been tough recently as we have had so many injuries and only two available defenders.

“The players all know what their jobs are and even though you are going into a different position we are all doing it for the team.

“We need to take confidence from a clean sheet at Dundee despite having defenders out.

“Midfielders and wingers were working back and we earned the clean sheet as a team.”

Ball will go up against St Mirren gaffer Alan Stubbs who took him to Rotherham on a three-year contract until 2019. Stubbs was later sacked after five months in the job.

Ball said: “Alan Stubbs helped get the best out of me. He had me playing midfield and at centre-half and gave me those options.

“It was good for me as were his man-management and the way he develops players.

“Having played for him at Rotherham, I know that St Mirren will be very organised.

“St Mirren have started well and have a new manager so it will be a tough game.

“It is a cup game and in those matches it is always about who is best on the day and we need to make sure it is us.”