Aberdeen winger Connor McLennan says the Dons are “as confident as ever” they can beat Celtic and reach the Scottish Cup final.
The 19-year-old youth academy graduate is having a breakthrough campaign and set up Aberdeen’s second in the 2-0 win at Dens Park on Saturday.
Now, McLennan is in line for another appearance at the national stadium, having come on as a sub for the injured Gary Mackay-Steven in the 1-0 Betfred Cup final loss to Celtic in December.
The Buchan native – whose friends and family are set to be among the travelling Red Army for the Celts clash – said: “We’re a good side and as confident as ever we’ll get a result.
“We’ve been to Hampden, we’re an experienced side and we know what we have to do to get the win.
“Hopefully we can rest up this week and go in with high confidence.
“It would be massive (to play again).
“It was a great experience the first time and a dream come true.
“We need to kick on now, get a result and get to the final.”
The Dons drew 0-0 with the Celtic at Parkhead the last time they met on league business. However, they haven’t beaten them on Mount Florida since the 1992/93 League Cup semi-final – a 1-0 win via Eoin Jess’ goal.
With young talents like 20-goal striker Sam Cosgrove and McLennan showing how potent they can be in the win over Dundee, there will be belief in the corridors of Pittodrie they can end their Hoops Hampden hoodoo.
McLennan’s play to set up Cosgrove at Dens was exquisite.
Collecting the ball on the left of the Dees area, he dropped a shoulder to leave full-back Cameron Kerr in his wake before teeing up his team-mate from the bye-line for the simplest of left-footed finishes.
McLennan said: “It was a good bit of play from the boys.
“Shinnie gave it to me and I’ve just got to make sure I can get the ball into the box.
“Sam especially is going to be in there and thankfully he finished it off.
“He always seems to be in the right place at the right time, and even with the penalty we know he’s going to slot it home.
“He’s been in that form all season.
“It’s good to have that presence.”
There would’ve been fears in the first half McLennan’s “dream” of another Hampden appearance in red could be in jeopardy when he went down clutching his right shoulder after tangling with Ryan McGowan.
The teen revealed after the game his left shoulder had dropped in a different fashion – out of joint.
It’s the second time this season it has happened after he was forced off and on to the treatment table against St Mirren at Pittodrie earlier in the campaign.
But McLennan was hopeful the shoulder won’t be a concern come Sunday, saying: “It popped out again. It’s the same one (as against St Mirren), so I’ll be in touch with the physios and we’ll sort that out.”
He thinks a low-key week between the crucial Premiership win at Dens and the semi will do the Dons good.
They weren’t at their best in the first half, but McLennan was glad they ground out three points to stay neck and neck in the race with Kilmarnock for third and a Europa League qualifying place going into the post-split fixtures – the first of which is a meeting with Killie at Rugby Park a week on Saturday.
He said: “It was a good win. It was three points we needed as there’s a bit of a challenge to get into the third place and European football.
“With Hibs’ win earlier in the day, we knew we needed to win and we did that. The only thing we can do is get the three points. We can’t really depend on any other results.
“It was a bit of a scrappy first half, but we changed a few things at half-time and played better in the second half.
“Everyone could see it wasn’t a good first half, and we’re good players playing for Aberdeen and needed to go and show it.”