Former Don Willo Flood insists it’s only a matter of time before Derek McInnes leads Aberdeen to Scottish Cup glory.
On Sunday, the Reds face Celtic at Hampden in the semi-final of the tournament.
Since McInnes took charge of the Dons in March 2013 there have been plenty of close shaves in the Scottish Cup.
The Hoops beat the Reds 2-1 in the 2017 final and there have been semi-final defeats to St Johnstone (2-1) in 2014 and Motherwell (3-0) last year.
Flood was one of McInnes’ first Pittodrie signings. The Irishman, who also played for Celtic, left the Granite City in the summer of 2016 after three seasons and he believes this could be the year Aberdeen win the Scottish Cup for the first time since 1990.
The 33-year-old said: “Derek’s been so close to winning another cup. For me he deserves another trophy or two but he hasn’t got it.
“He’s been so close so often in cups as well as doing well in the league and in Europe.
“In terms of why it hasn’t happened, part of it is finances because if he had the backing Celtic or Rangers have you would see more of what he could do.
“Over the last five or six years Derek McInnes has to be up there as the number one manager in Scotland.
“Brendan Rodgers did a fantastic job in terms of some of the football Celtic played.
“But pound for pound McInnes is probably number one. Steve Clarke and Tommy Wright are others who have done well.
“They’ve been so close to winning the Scottish Cup and to be fair it could be one decision that makes the difference.
“Hopefully on Sunday they get that and get through because for me Derek deserves another cup.
“Whether it is this season or next season I’m sure it will come.
“It’s a matter of time before the Dons win the cup and I believe they have enough to reach the final.
“They’ll have to bring their ‘A game’ and on Sunday if they get one or two chances they’ll have to take them.
“Midfield is a key area for me and Aberdeen need to get control of it. They’ll miss Graeme Shinnie (out through suspension) so they might have to change their game up a bit.
“If you have control and keep Celtic’s front three quiet you have a really good chance of winning the game.”
Flood was part of the Aberdeen team who won the League Cup in 2014 in McInnes’ first season at the helm.
The former Manchester City and Dundee United player believes the Dons should have also lifted the Scottish Cup that year, but defeat to St Johnstone at Ibrox in the last four put paid to their hopes.
Flood, now working on setting up a football agency business after a move to Indonesian side Bali United fell through at the start of the season, added: “In the first half we played so well and should have been more than 1-0 up.
“In the second half we didn’t turn up and to be fair to Stevie May he dragged St Johnstone over the line with two goals.
“Him and Steven MacLean were really good that day and we didn’t play as well.
“It didn’t help that Barry Robson missed a header from four yards.
“He keeps telling us how good a career he had, but we don’t pay attention to him!
“For me if we had got to the cup final that year we would have gone on and beaten Dundee United. But it wasn’t to be and fair play to St Johnstone.”
Something else about McInnes which impressed Flood was the way he sells the club to potential new signings.
Flood also notes how he has managed to keep Aberdeen competitive despite losing players like Jonny Hayes, Ryan Jack, Kenny McLean, Ash Taylor, Peter Pawlett and Ryan Christie during his time as gaffer.
Reflecting on joining the Dons in 2013, Flood said: “I spoke to Dundee United and I had three weeks left on my contract there and Derek rang me up and asked to meet.
“When he walked out the door I rang my agent and said: ‘I’ll be signing for Aberdeen’.
“He just has that aura about him that when he gets you in a room you want to play for him.
“He sold the club to me and sold the way he wanted to play and manage and everything about him made me want to play for him.
“I’ve spoken to other players who have met him and they agree.
“For me when he gets you in a room, wanting to sign you, he is the best I have seen at getting players to sign.
“You can look at what happened with Dundee United where you lose players, lose players, lose players.
“There will come a time where it will hit you hard and that was what killed Dundee United a few years ago. At the start of the season people maybe questioned Aberdeen getting into Europe or the top six.
“But Derek is so driven and the one thing about him is that he will always make players better.”
Willo Flood was speaking at a William Hill media event