Skipper Graeme Shinnie insists he doesn’t care if critics write off the Dons – as the midfielder knows how good they are.
Scotland international Shinnie accepts many were quick to dismiss Aberdeen’s chances of overcoming Rangers at Hampden in the Betfred Cup semi-final.
They silenced the knockers by triumphing 1-0 to set up a final clash with holders Celtic at the national stadium on December 2.
Following a stuttering start to the Premiership campaign the Reds are in the bottom half of the table and trailed league leaders Hearts by 13 points at one stage.
But despite a dismal first-half performance at Kilmarnock, where the Dons trailed, they fought back to win 2-1 – a result that slashed the gap on Hearts to eight.
Crucially the Dons also have a game in hand over the Tynecastle side. That points difference can be further reduced to five when Derek McInnes’ side host Hibs tomorrow evening.
Victory over the sixth-placed outfit would also vault the Reds back into the top six.
Silence the critics? No. Because their pops are like water off a duck’s back to the club captain.
He said: “People will always want to write you off and whatever else but we know what we are capable of.
“We know what we want to do as a squad, so things like that don’t bother us.”
Aberdeen booked a fourth final under manager Derek McInnes and will now bid to emulate the 2014 League Cup heroics next month.
Shinnie insists the Dons’ chances in the semi being written off did not fire him up.
Leading his home city club to another final and keeping alive the chance of lifting a first trophy as Aberdeen skipper was all the motivation the 27-year-old needed.
“A cup semi-final should always fire you up no matter what,” he said. “That is my opinion on it.
“I would be fired up for a semi-final no matter who it was against.
“Some people might use it (criticism) more than others would but the main focus on that game was getting through.”
Buoyed by a summer spending spree in excess of £10 million and an 11-game unbeaten streak in the Europa League, Steven Gerrard’s Gers were billed as favourites at Hampden.
It was a situation Shinnie, who lifted the Scottish Cup with Inverness Caley Thistle in 2015, was used to before his switch to the Dons that year.
Shinnie said: “Personally I have dealt with it the whole time I was at Inverness when we were always the massive underdogs. I came to Aberdeen and it is not so much like that here.
“Before the semi we said that this could be a real kickstarter for the season and a win could get that bit of momentum going.
“We had sort of been stop start with good games followed by bad games. It was important for us as a team, a squad and a club to get to another cup final.
“We always pride ourselves on trying to do that and giving ourselves a chance of trying to win silverware.”
That momentum has come with two straight wins in the Premiership having overcome Hamilton (3-0) and Kilmarnock.
Victory over in-form Killie was a slog with the Reds’ goals coming despite only two shots at target. Although a poor performance, particularly in the first half where a long-ball game obliterated any chance of fluidity, Aberdeen secured another win.
Shinnie reckons an injury crisis, where eight were ruled out at one time, is a mitigating factor in inconsistent early league form.
Now that players have returned competition for places is also back.
Shinnie, who has been selected for the Scotland squad to face Albania and Israel in the UEFA Nations League, said: “We have a lot of boys coming back from injury. There always is that competition for places, even with young boys coming through.
“Connor McLennan came in for the St Mirren game recently and then played very well.
“We have boys like Bruce Anderson coming through.
“It is what the squad needs as competition for places is always good. It keeps the boys who are starting on their toes.”