Defender Mark Reynolds today insisted Aberdeen have a target on their back and they love it.
The centre-back reckons teams are desperate to take the Dons’ scalp after establishing themselves as Scotland’s second force. That will continue.
That will continue on Saturday when St Mirren will come to Pittodrie looking to pull off a major Scottish Cup fourth round shock.
However, Reynolds warned Aberdeen relish the pressure of being a target to be shot at.
And any player who can’t stand the heat of that scrutiny and pressure does not last long at Pittodrie.
Fired-up Reynolds is desperate for Aberdeen to add to their League Cup glory of 2014 by lifting the Scottish Cup this season.
He said: “Aberdeen have been a target for clubs over the last couple of years and we expect that pressure.
“The manager has recruited players of the ilk that like having a target on their back.
“Players that have come to Aberdeen and haven’t done well with having that target and that pressure haven’t lasted long.
“They have moved on.
“We feel more often than not we have stepped up to that pressure and hopefully we can keep doing that and see where that takes us.”
Reynolds was part of the team that ended a 19-year trophy drought by lifting the League Cup in 2014.
He is determined this team’s legacy will be more than one trophy and the first step towards this is St Mirren on Saturday.
“The manager has said we don’t want to make this just one trophy,” he said.
“We want to make this a sustained period of success where we can win one or two trophies.”
Reynolds fellow centre-back Scott McKenna will face St Mirren on Saturday after the Dons rejected two offers from Hull City for the 21-year-old.
Dons boss Derek McInnes has insisted McKenna is not for sale in January.
Reynolds reckons the Scotland Under-21 will eventually move on from Pittodrie – but in a big money move south of the border.
He said: “I think Scott will move at some point and he will go down and be a top player in England. He has all the attributes to go and do that.”
Aberdeen yesterday jetted back from their warm weather training camp in Dubai.
They called time on their trip to the Middle East with a 2-0 friendly loss to Lokomotiv Tashkent of Uzbekistan, which threatened to boil over at times.
The two sides squared up to one another following an elbow on Ryan Christie in the first half.
Reynolds admits there was a worry a Don could pick up an injury, but placed the blame with the local officials for the game being ill tempered.
For the defender, there was just relief the Reds finished the friendly with no fresh injury problems.
“It was down to the refereeing more than anything else,” said Reynolds.
“The ref was letting a lot go and wasn’t calling decisions.
“He was just reacting to how the players reacted so it was poor officiating.
“They (Tashkent) started leaving challenges in and if the ref is going to allow that to happen they are going to keep doing it.
“A few of our boys took exception to that, which you are going to do.
“There is always a concern there could be an injury and you saw a few boys stepping out of tackles not wanting to get involved.
“When those tackles were put in more often than not they were sidestepped.
“There is always the risk of getting an injury, but we did as much as we could to avoid that.
“When things calmed back down it was a good exercise for us.”
The Dons had a legitimate Ryan Christie goal wrongly chalked off for offside in the friendly.
Reynolds said: “We lost two bad goals, but that was more from us than them cutting us open and causing us problems.
“We could have been more clinical in their box and scored a couple of goals ourselves.
“It was an exercise in getting minutes under the belt and get that sharpness back with decision making.
“Overall it was a good exercise and a good end to the training camp in Dubai.”