Boss Derek McInnes hailed match-winner Lewis Ferguson after he fired Aberdeen into the League Cup final.
The 19-year-old’s header 11 minutes from time sealed the Dons’ 1-0 win over Rangers and a place in the Hampden showpiece against Celtic on Sunday December 2.
The midfielder, who is the son of Derek and nephew of Barry – both former Gers players – was signed from Hamilton Accies in the summer and McInnes was delighted with his contribution at the national stadium.
McInnes said: “He’s a dream of a boy and I absolutely trust him with anything I ask him to do.
“Whether it’s screening a back four or playing against Burnley and making sure he got in the box and supported the striker.
“He is one of those who is a natural footballer – he was born to play games at Hampden and he is going to have a fantastic career.
“He had his hands full in midfield because Rangers’ rotation was good but he still had a calmness, authority and competitive edge that kept him in the game.
“I always felt he was going to be an important player for me from the first day of testing in pre-season.
“It wasn’t just ‘that will do’ – it was about trying to be the best, which is a great attitude for a young player to have.
“Technically he runs like a footballer, moves like a footballer and passes like a footballer, but his biggest thing is the determination to be the best he can be.
“There’s a real level of maturity for someone so young.
“Any time you win a semi-final, especially a late winner like it was, you have to try to enjoy the moment.
“It was a great delivery and Lewis gets on the end of it.”
Aberdeen lost defender Andy Considine in the first half. He had to be stretchered off after a nasty clash of heads with Lassana Coulibaly.
After that McInnes was concerned by a potential lack of height in his side to defend set-plays – but again praised Ferguson and the rest of his side for stepping up.
McInnes added: “When Andy Considine goes off we weren’t the biggest team either and when Andy went off it meant Lewis had to pick up a six foot three striker at their set-pieces.
“He dealt with that and he’s also imposing and determined enough to get on the end of Niall McGinn’s cross.
“I was disappointed with our deliveries, we wanted to make sure we bypassed Connor Goldson often enough, too often we were throwing it on top of him. Lewis has got the flight of the ball, got on top of Ejaria and showed fantastic technique to get on the end of it.
“My biggest concern was the size of the team because we weren’t the biggest.
“When you play Scott Wright and Lewis Ferguson it’s about balance. Max Lowe was unlucky not to play because he has been doing fine.
“But we needed enough size and experience in the team. When Max went on he got to the pitch of the game well, but it did make us lighter in terms of size.
“We all had to take responsibility and thankfully we saw off Rangers’ set-plays.
“Max did fine and he’s going to do fine, I’m delighted for all my players.
“I thought Rangers huffed and puffed and never really worked Joe Lewis. I think you see in any team a striker is all-important and Rangers’ star player is Morelos and they missed him.
“They dominated a lot of the possession as you would sometimes expect but we defended brilliantly.
“That’s three clean sheets, we’ve not lost a goal in the League Cup. We had to defend well and show enough resilience and thankfully that part of the game has got us into the final.”
On Considine, who was taken to hospital, McInnes said: “He’s ok thankfully. He was conscious, he wasn’t out cold, but it was his neck the medical staff were concerned about.
“You have to be really careful with that. I’ve had a text from him at the hospital and he’s fine.
“Whether he’s fine to play the next game I don’t know but there’s certainly no lasting damage.”