Centre-back Scott McKenna thinks Aberdeen’s crop of young talent can see this generation become the latest Pittodrie squad to win silverware.
McKenna, 21, was in defence as Derek McInnes’ side beat Rangers 1-0 at Hampden to reach the Betfred Cup final.
Aberdeen will now face off with Premiership champions Celtic on December 2 for a chance to win the cup for the seventh time.
The League Cup was the Dons’ last trophy – the only of McInnes’ reign so far – when they lifted it at Parkhead in the 2013/14 campaign.
Only three players from the March 2014 win on penalties over Inverness were in the team for Sunday’s win over the Gers at the national stadium, while only five names from the weekend were in the squad which lost the League Cup final to Celtic in 2016/17.
The stars of McInnes’ team now include players right at the start of their careers, like McKenna, and Sunday’s hero Lewis Ferguson, 19, whose header sent Aberdeen through and the Red Army into raptures.
Other semi players like winger Scott Wright, 21, McKenna’s centre-back partner Mikey Devlin, 25, and loanees James Wilson, 22, and Max Lowe, 21 – who was subbed on for Andy Considine – still have the majority of their football ahead of them.
McKenna said: “It’s brilliant for everyone involved with the club, the fans as well.
“With the rivalry between the clubs, it was a massive day for everyone.
“Hopefully (we can be the next Aberdeen generation to win a trophy). It’s exciting.
“There is a bit of inexperience. Mikey (Devlin) might still be young, but he’s been captain of a club before (Hamilton Academical).”
McKenna added: “It’s just exciting for everyone and hopefully we’ll be part of a team that wins a cup for Aberdeen.
“It’s going to be difficult. Celtic are a good team, but in the game at Parkhead earlier in the season (a 1-0 Reds loss) we more than matched them.
“We narrowly lost the game, but if we’d got the first goal – which we probably should have with the chances we had – we would have won it.
“We’ll take confidence from that and confidence from Sunday’s performance.
“We showed good resilience to hang in and get to the final.”
There’s belief in the squad the gritty semi victory can be the result to ignite Aberdeen’s season.
They find themselves eighth in the Premiership with 12 points from nine games, with Hamilton set to visit Pittodrie in the league tomorrow, before meeting Kilmarnock at Rugby Park and Hibs back in the north-east.
McKenna said: “We’ve got three games before the next (international) break, that’ll be what we’re concentrating on – taking confidence from the Rangers game and nine points from nine.”
Since bursting on to the scene last season and captaining Scotland in Mexico over the summer, McKenna has been the subject of continued big-money bids from English clubs, including Aston Villa.
He thinks team-mate Ferguson, who rose to power 2014-cup- winning-veteran Niall McGinn’s corner past Allan McGregor, will soon be attracting the same kind of attention.
The son of former Ger Derek and nephew of Barry also scored an overhead kick for the Dons against Burnley in Europa League qualifying.
McKenna said: “Fergie – no one will like me saying this – but I don’t know how long we’ll be able to hold on to him.
“He’s a big player and scores big goals in important games.”
Aberdeen were under a lot of pressure in the second half at Hampden, losing Considine before the break to injury.
McKenna was proud of how the team stuck it out together, despite these difficulties.
He said: “They were putting a lot of pressure on us, but we all stuck together as a team – back four, midfield, we showed good concentration when the ball came in to the box.
“We were the first ones to it and got it clear.”