We’re strong enough for ‘special’ Scottish Cup win says winger Mackay-Steven

Aberdeen's Gary Mackay-Steven trains in Dubai.

Winger Gary Mackay-Steven believes Aberdeen are strong enough to lift the Scottish Cup for the first time since 1990.

A £150,000 summer signing from Celtic, the 27-year-old claimed a Scottish Cup winner’s medal in the 2-1 final defeat of the Dons last season.

However, the playmaker admits that gong means little as he had no game time at Hampden last May.

Which is why helping Aberdeen end 28 years of Scottish Cup pain and earning a medal on the pitch would be “special” for the Scotland cap.

The Dons begin their Scottish Cup campaign with a fourth round clash against Championship leaders St Mirren at Pittodrie on Saturday.

Mackay-Steven said: “The Scottish Cup is always the target at the start of the season.

“To win the Scottish Cup with Aberdeen would be special and I feel we have a strong enough squad to do that.

“I have a winner’s medal from the final last season against Aberdeen but it is not something I cherish too much.

“I was in the squad for the final but I would much rather be part of it and feel like I am contributing to helping the team win a trophy.

“It is nice having that medal but it is not the same when you don’t play.

“I want to contribute, I want to be on the pitch and playing in the final.

“However, first and foremost we have St Mirren which will be a very tough game.”

Aberdeen spent a week at a warm weather training camp in Dubai in preparation for the cup tie against the Buddies and the second half of the season.

Mackay-Steven is determined to play a key role in Aberdeen’s Scottish Cup bid and the rest of the Premiership campaign.

The Reds went into the winter shutdown in second place, eight points behind league leaders Celtic.

At the same stage last season that gap was 18 points to Brendan Rodgers’ side.

Mackay-Steven said: “We want to go on a good run in the second half of the season, starting with the Scottish Cup.

“I feel I am in a good place to contribute.”

Mackay-Steven has the distinction of the domestic clean sweep with winner’s medals in all three tournaments – Premiership, League Cup and Scottish Cup.

He aims to add to that haul with the Dons.

“It is nice to have those medals and it is something I can look back on later,” he said.

“For now I just want to continue to win more medals and I feel that with Aberdeen I can do that.

“That is definitely the aim for this season and being out in Dubai for a week will build the blocks to enable us to do that.”

Former Celt Mackay-Steven admits it will be tough for his ex-team-mates to replicate last season where they went unbeaten domestically to win the treble.

Celtic have already lost 4-0 to Hearts in this league campaign and the winger is determined to remain within touching distance.

He said: “Last season Celtic couldn’t do any wrong and probably had one of the best campaigns ever.

“It will be very hard for them to replicate that.

“We just want to go about our business and keep improving on what Aberdeen did last season.

“That is our only focus and we will see come the end of the season where it takes us.”

Aberdeen are three points ahead of Rangers but have lost both head-to-heads against the Ibrox club this season.

Mackay-Steven said: “There have been games where we feel we should have done a lot better. Rangers is included in that.

“We will look forward to Ibrox and want to do better than previously.”