Rooney endured summer blues after Scottish Cup final loss – which is why he wants to win it

Aberdeen's Adam Rooney shakes hands with manager Derek McInnes after being subbed.

Adam Rooney’s summer was ruined because he was haunted by bitter disappointment at the way last season finished.

Losing the Scottish Cup final 2-1 to Celtic with effectively the last kick of the game was hard to take for Rooney.

So much so it ate away at him during the close season.

Rooney is determined there will be no summ​er blues this summer and accepts the only way to ensure that is by lifting the trophy at Hampden in May.

That is the finale to the campaign the Reds are targeting with a quarter-final slot against Kilmarnock secured for the weekend of March 3.

Rooney netted the opener in a 4-2 defeat of Championship Dundee United to set up the last eight showdown.

Until then the cup dream will be put on the back-burner as the Reds re-focus on a Premiership campaign where they trail defending champions Celtic by only eight points.

Prolific scorer Rooney, on 11 goals for the campaign, is set to lead the line against Hibs at Easter Road on Saturday.

The Dubliner, 29, said: “If you finish the season with that disappointment of losing a final with a late goal, as much as you want to get on with things, it drags on and on.

“It was a tough one to take. You keep thinking about how good the summer could have been if we had won it.

“Disappointment is part and parcel of football and you just have to use it as motivation to go and try and win it next time.

“At the minute we are in good stead to do that, but it is still a long, long way away. We just have to make sure we take care of one game at a time.”

Manager Derek McInnes has not just targeted a first Scottish Cup win since 1990, he believes his squad can deliver. Rooney admits the players have put pressure on themselves to secure silverware to back up their status in recent years as Scotland’s second force.

It is pressure he is confident Aberdeen can handle.

“It was always our aim to get to cup finals,” he explained.

“The gaffer has mentioned that and it is something we always put pressure on ourselves to do.

“If we don’t get there then we are disappointed.

“There was so much disappointment after the Scottish Cup final last year where we felt we deserved something from that game.

“We want to get back to the final and give ourselves another chance of silverware.”

Aberdeen have finished Premiership runners-up to Celtic for three successive seasons and are currently second in the table again.

However, a real marker of success in the McInnes era and legacy would be to add to the League Cup win of 2014.

Dundee United boss Csaba Laszlo threw in some added spice to what is always a hotly-contested derby.

Laszlo claimed the Dons were lucky in recent seasons as there had been little competition due to the absence of United, Rangers, Hearts and Hibs from the top flight.

Rooney said: “I didn’t pay attention to that.

“People can take comments out of context and I understand that so we didn’t pay too much attention to it.

“We just focused on the game and knew if we played like we are capable of we would win it.”

The draw for the quarter-finals was made at Pittodrie immediately after the Reds’ victory over Dundee United.

Former Dons skipper Russell Anderson, a 2014 League Cup-winning team-mate of Rooney’s, was tasked with drawing the home sides.

Rooney said: “It was nice for Rusty (Russell Anderson) to pull us a home draw out of the hat so he did us a favour there.

“We can’t look too far ahead as Kilmarnock are flying at the minute so it will be a difficult tie.

“We are the only team to have beaten them recently and that was a tough game.

“A home tie was what we were looking for in the dressing room so we can get the crowd behind us again to hopefully get into the semis.”

Aberdeen will now redirect their energy to the Premiership campaign.

They face a vital double header at Hibs before hosting league leaders Celtic at Pittodrie the following Sunday. Skipper Graeme Shinnie is suspended for both those matches.

Rooney said: “We have beaten Hibs twice this season so we can take confidence from that.

“At Easter Road Gary (Mackay-Steven) scored a good goal and we were under the cosh, but we dug in and did what we needed to get the points

“Our performance at Pittodrie against Hibs was excellent and hopefully it will be the same again as we will try to get three points.

“It will be a difficult game.

“Shinnie will be out, but someone will come in and fill in for him.

“We have a very strong squad at the minute with two or three lads not even on the bench, which shows how strong it is.

“We are going to need that between now and the end of the season.”

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