Winger Niall McGinn made an unlikely return to Pittodrie in January, after a short spell in South Korea, with the hope of securing more trophy glory.
While based 5,400 miles away at Gwangju in the K League, playing for the Dons in a cup final seemed like a million miles away.
Now one of the few remaining members of the Dons’ 2014 League Cup-winning side is on the brink of achieving that goal in the Betfred Cup final against Celtic at Hampden on Sunday.
McGinn rejected the offer of a new contract in summer 2017 to end five years at Pittodrie.
He eventually made an unexpected move to Gwangju, but after only half a season, following their relegation, McGinn’s contract was terminated by mutual consent.
Dons boss Derek McInnes swooped quickly to beat Hibs and Hearts to McGinn’s signature by landing him on a three-and-a-half-year contract.
The Northern Ireland international feels “privileged” to be back at the Dons and competing for trophies. And after seeing off top flight Rangers, Hibs and St Mirren to get to the final, McGinn aims to add to his winning medal haul.
He said: “When you are away in another country like South Korea it is days like playing in a cup final that I missed, that wonderful atmosphere and competing for a trophy.
“With South Korea something new came up for me and I went and tried it. I am privileged to be back and part of this again. Days like Sunday are why I came back to Scotland to play at a big club competing at a high level.
“I am back in the team and to have the opportunity to play in another final is brilliant.
“That is what you want as a player because it gives you that extra lift and buzz.
“You don’t really get much opportunities in life to play in big finals, but we have that on Sunday and we will hopefully make the most of it.”
McGinn was part of the team that defeated Inverness Caley Thistle at Parkhead in the League Cup final in March 2014 to end a 19-year trophy drought.
“Winning the cup in 2014 was an unbelievable feeling and it brought so much energy to the city,” he said. “It made the fans so excited and they will be travelling down in their numbers to cheer us on again on Sunday.
“Hopefully they can help us get over the line and bring another trophy back.”
Aberdeen set up the final showdown with a 1-0 defeat of Rangers at Hampden, Lewis Ferguson netting the winner.
McGinn insists they must finish the job on Sunday.
He said: “If you are going to win cups you have to beat the big teams and we have done that along the way against three Premiership sides in Rangers, Hibs and St Mirren. That is a tough way to go through to the final but we can’t be happy with what we have done.
“We have to go that one step further and win the trophy.
“We will take confidence from beating those teams in the previous rounds.”
Ahead of the semi-final all the talk was about Rangers. McGinn expects a similar balance of focus to be on cup holders Celtic.
However, he aims to have everyone talking about Aberdeen by the end of play on Sunday.
He said: “It was massive beating Rangers in the semi-final.
“All the talk was about Rangers and how they were going to get to the final under Steven Gerrard.
“When Rangers and Celtic are involved most of the talk is going to be about the Old Firm.
“That is just the way it is and what you have to deal with.
“For us to go there and put in the performance we did was fantastic. We nullified Rangers and they only had one shot on target, which was pleasing for us.
“We know it is going to be more or less the same with Celtic and it is for us to weather the storm and take our chances.
“I am sure if you asked any other manager or player from any other club in Scotland, they would love to be in a final on Sunday and would bite your hand off to be in our position.
“If we are constantly competing for trophies that is what you want to do as a player and what you are remembered for.”
Aberdeen go into the final on the back of a dismal 3-0 defeat to Motherwell at Fir Park on Saturday.
The Steelmen’s opening goal came directly from an Aberdeen corner where McGinn back-tracked before sending a stray cross-field pass.
It was intercepted by Danny Johnson, who ran 60 yards upfield and beat Shay Logan to score.
McGinn accepts blame for the goal but insists his team-mates were also culpable for the howler.
He said: “It was a tough one to take, but you hope other players can maybe get on the ball and try to help me out of a bad situation.
“It wasn’t to be, but the lad did well. He took Shay on, beat him and put it in the corner.
“On a personal note I was disappointed not to make a pass, but for a player to run maybe 60 yards is maybe disappointing on behalf of the team. The other goals were defensive mistakes.
“Personally I don’t give away too many goals, but I will put my hands up – blame me for the first one no problem.
“I will take that one on the chin and move on.”