Aberdeen youth coach Barry Robson insists the chances to compete against men’s teams can only improve his squad of teenagers.
The Dons travel to New Douglas Park to face Hamilton Accies in the third round of the SPFL Trust Trophy where a place in the quarter-finals is at stake for the winners.
The young Dons have had an impressive run after beating Highland League champions Brora and Championship side Arbroath so far, but Robson insists his side will be firm underdogs on Wednesday.
He said: “The Hamilton game is a big game for them, but we’re massive underdogs again. I always say to them you never know in football.
“You’ve got to have the mentality to go and play against teams that are bigger and stronger. I’ve done it myself and I know it’s about trying to find a way.
“When you come through youth team football, you can win a lot of games, but men’s football is different. You play against Arbroath or Brora, they are not going to play a technical game through the lines.
“They are going to test you, hit it long, come after you and knock you down. That’s the real game. When you come up against St Johnstone, it is going to be physical.
“They are going to be direct at times and you need to learn to handle that if you want to play in the Premiership for Aberdeen.”
Goalkeeper Tom Ritchie was the hero in the last round as he helped his side beat the Red Lichties in a penalty shootout at Pittodrie and the Elgin-born shotstopper is hoping to create more memories tomorrow.
He said: “Arbroath are the best team we’ve beaten.
“There was a belief we could get something out of the game and as the game went on our confidence grew. We started well and were winning first and second balls.
“You settle down and totally forget who you are playing against.
“It was such a kick in the teeth when they scored a late equaliser, so when it went to full-time I didn’t know it was going straight to penalties. My mum actually got up to leave and I had to tell her to stay as penalties were coming.”