Goal hero Ryan Christie today revealed Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha’s comments fired up the Dons to end their Ibrox hoodoo.
On-loan Celtic midfielder Christie wrote his name in Pittodrie folklore by netting the decisive second goal in a 2-1 win at Rangers.
It ended a 39-game winless streak stretching back to September 1991.
Ending that 26-year hoodoo in Govan was enough motivation for the Reds.
But Caixinha’s comments in the build-up to the clash added further fuel to the Dons’ bid to dump the Gers.
Portuguese Caixinha had angered Dons boss Derek McInnes by claiming the Reds’ run of success is set to come to an end with key players leaving in the summer.
The Rangers boss also admitted he would love to sign Pittodrie skipper Ryan Jack who is set to go out of contract in the summer.
If all this was mind games from Caixinha to unsettle the Reds it backfired.
All it did was motivate Aberdeen to secure the win that cemented their mantle as Scotland’s second force.
Asked if Caixinha’s comments fired up the Dons, Christie said: “Maybe a little bit.
“Most of the boys are clever enough to keep their head firmly in the game.
“I think it frustrated the coaching staff here and certainly fired them up a bit more.
“So it was nice to get the result and quieten them down a bit.
“A few factors made us want to go out and prove a point.
“Obviously, Rangers turning us over at Pittodrie (3-0), and we also wanted to confirm that second spot.
“It was good to finally do that.”
Christie and stand-in skipper Graeme Shinnie both netted in a win that moved Aberdeen nine points clear of third placed Rangers.
When Christie arrived on a six-month loan in January, Aberdeen were third in the Premiership, two points behind Rangers.
He he made the short-term switch from Parkhead because he saw Aberdeen as Scotland’s second force.
Christie was happy to play his part in being proved right.
The 22-year-old said: “That is second place confirmed with that win now, and before the game the gaffer said he wanted us to show that we are the second best team in Scotland.
“And on the night at Ibrox we did that.
“When I came to Aberdeen I said it was because I thought Aberdeen were the second best team in the country.
“And ahead of the last league game of the season, the league position proves that.
“Also reaching two cup finals this season reinforces the fact Aberdeen are the second best team.”
Christie will return to Parkhead at the end of the season following Sunday’s trip to Partick Thistle.
Although he scored in the 3-2 semi-final win over Hibs, he will not feature in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden on May 27 as it is against his parent club.
A Scottish Cup winner with Inverness in 2015, the playmaker also missed the recent 3-1 Premiership loss to Celtic at Pittodrie.
He returned to the starting line-up for the suspended Jonny Hayes at Ibrox.
Christie still has two years remaining of his Celtic deal and will return determined to force his way into boss Brendan Rodgers’ first team.
Champions League football and defending the Premiership trophy await for the midfielder next year.
But whatever Christie ultimately achieves at Celtic, he will always be remembered by the Red Army for ending their 26 years of pain in Govan.
Christie might never have to put his hand in his pocket for a pint in the Granite City again. He said: “The gaffer made us aware it had been 26 years, and also said it would be very important to the fans if we could go to Ibrox and get a result.
“So in that aspect it was brilliant.”
Christie netted a sublime effort in a 7-2 win over Motherwell earlier in the season that was a contender for goal of the season, curling it in with the outside of his boot.
The goal at Ibrox, his fifth of the Pittodrie loan spell and third in the last four appearances, was simpler.
A header from inside the six-yard box, but will be just as memorable for Dons fans as that moment of magic against ‘Well.
“For the goal, Adam Rooney put the ball into the box and it happened to break to me,” he said.
“For me to score at Ibrox was a very happy thing for me. I can tick that off my list now.”
Christie’s loan spell from Celtic has been such a success he was named Aberdeen FC Young Player of the Year at the club’s local awards ceremony.
He will make his final Dons appearance in Sunday’s curtain closer against Partick in Glasgow. A win would end the season on 76 to set a new record points tally for a non-Old Firm club.
Aberdeen hold the current record with 75 set in the 2015-16 campaign.
He said: “I have been just thinking short-term.
“The game at Partick will end my season and then I will go back to Celtic and see what happens there.”I have absolutely loved my time here.
“The rest of the boys will move on to the Scottish Cup final, and I wish them the best of luck.
“But I want to bow out on a high at Partick by getting a win in the last game of the league season before the summertime.”