Mark Reynolds admits it will be hard to sit in the stand on Sunday when Aberdeen face Celtic in the Betfred Cup final.
But the injured defender believes he still has a role to play in the build-up to the showpiece.
The Dons take on the Hoops on Sunday for the first silverware of the season with Reynolds, who lifted the League Cup with the Reds in 2014, missing due to a knee injury sustained in a friendly in July against Cove Rangers.
The 31-year-old also played in defeats to Celtic in the 2016 League Cup final (3-0) and 2017 Scottish Cup final (2-1).
With that experience Reynolds believes he still has a role to play ahead of this clash by imparting his wisdom on some of the younger members of Derek McInnes’ squad.
He said: “It’s a very close changing room and the manager knows he’s got boys who have done it. He’s got boys you can speak to who have been here and done it before in big games.
“We’ve been to cup finals and competed with Celtic before so it’s about going out and taking your chance.
“We’ve competed in cup competitions and finals before so we know what’s expected and on a one-off game we know we can beat Celtic. So we go into it with a lot of optimism.
“It’s hard. You sit in the stand and especially at the start of the season when we were struggling a bit for form and getting criticism – a lot of it undue in my opinion.
“It would be nice to go in and help bolster the team in that situation.
“It’s hard to sit and watch and on the other hand when the boys are doing well it’s great and we’ve got a great dressing room so you wish them every success. But you’re also wishing you could play a part in it.
“We’ve got the cup final and I’ve been lucky enough to win a cup here. I hope every one of them gets the chance to go out and lift the cup. But I’m wishing I could play a part in bringing a trophy back to Aberdeen again.”
The Dons haven’t enjoyed their best start to the season with 21 points from 13 games leaving them sixth in the table.
Reynolds reckons some of the criticism they have had this term has been unjust and thinks the flak shows the level of expectation the Dons have created in recent seasons.
He added: “We’ve not played as well as we could have but the manager always says cup competitions are all about getting to semi-finals and finals.
“We’ve put ourselves 90 minutes away from winning a cup and that’s all you can ask.
“In cup semi-finals and finals, sometimes a manager will need to say ‘if they have an off day, we have a chance’. Whereas I think if they bring our best and we bring our best, we’ve got a chance.
“At the start of the season we were getting battered from all corners – ‘Aberdeen have blown up’, ‘Aberdeen aren’t this or that’, ‘these others have arrived and it’s finally their time’.
“We’re still there or thereabouts in the league – the top six is so tight – and we’re in the final of a cup.
“For us to have been so negative and everyone be doom and gloom, we’re still doing very well.
“It comes with that level of expectation we’ve created.”
The closest the Reds have been to winning a trophy since 2014 was the Scottish Cup final in 2017 when Tom Rogic’s stoppage time goal defeated them.
Reynolds believes confidence can be taken from that showing ahead of this weekend’s Hampden meeting with Celtic.
He said: “I don’t think it’s about doing things differently, it’s about taking your chances on the day.
“When we played Celtic in the Scottish Cup final, before they scored we had the chance where Jonny Hayes broke down the line and cut it back for Kenny McLean – but we missed that chance.
“I think if that had gone in we could have held on and won the game.
“We played well, created chances and went toe-to-toe with Celtic. Ultimately a bit of quality from them won the game.
“That could be us this time, a little bit of quality could change it for us. So we go down there feeling we’ve got a good chance of winning it.”