Aberdeen full-back Max Lowe says losing the Betfred Cup final was “easily” the deepest low of his career – and he wants to make up for it in the Scottish Cup.
The Dons lost 1-0 at Hampden in the League Cup showpiece in December and now face Celtic again in the national trophy last-four for another shot at silverware.
Asked if he recalls the pain of December’s loss, after the Reds matched Brendan Rodgers’ Hoops so well for most of the 90 minutes, Lowe – on loan at Pittodrie from English Championship Derby County – said: “(It was) easily (the biggest disappointment of my career). Just in terms of how much we put into the game.
“We gave it our all and it just wasn’t enough. I felt like the performance was there from man to man on the pitch against Celtic.
“My head was all over the place after the game. I was gutted and the changing room was quiet.
“Then we realised we weren’t even halfway through the season – so we had to push it aside quick.
“Hopefully this time it can be different.”
Lowe had been on the bench for two final losses before – last season, while he was on loan at Shrewsbury Town, the Blues lost in both the EFL Trophy final and League One play-off final.
However, December was the first time he’d been on the pitch for the agony of falling at the final hurdle.
The 21-year-old says, despite regretting the result, he doesn’t think there was much else Aberdeen could’ve done on the day to change the outcome.
Lowe said: “We were confident, played well, defended really well as well, apart from the goal which was a sloppy bit of play.
“Celtic are a team who can break teams down really well and I thought we dealt with that as best as we could have.
“There wasn’t any disappointment with the performance, just that they beat us with that one bit of play.”
Left-back Lowe is all too aware of the silver-studded history of Aberdeen, the wait since 2014 for a trophy to follow the League Cup victory, the near 30-year wait for an eighth Scottish Cup and the fact long-serving team-mates have never won anything with the Reds.
He says gaffer Derek McInnes has used this as motivation going into tomorrow’s semi, revealing: “The gaffer said the likes of Joe Lewis and Graeme Shinnie haven’t won a cup at Aberdeen.
“I look at their careers and we need to win it for them. Their careers have been fantastic.”
It’s all well and good focusing on the records of others, but Lowe also came to Aberdeen to get to finals and win trophies himself.
He returned in January for another loan spell after a successful first half of the season in the north-east.
Lowe said: “The gaffer told me in his first phone call the club’s ambition is to get to finals, win trophies and get into Europe.
Me being 21, that was a massive eye-opener for me.
“I was on the bench at Shrewsbury and now playing in semi-finals and finals is huge for my development. It was a no-brainer for me to come up here.”
Of the mood in the camp going into the semi, Lowe thinks the Dons’ wins against Rangers and draw against Celtic in Glasgow this season, combined with two Premiership victories in the last week, have bred confidence.
Lowe said: “We’re quite confident. In recent games – the big games anyway – we’ve turned up and played quite well.
“Hopefully on Sunday, it’s a big occasion for the lads. We’ll get the performance, but also get a result against Celtic. Weirdly enough, before the last final, we lost 3-0 to Motherwell, but we managed to play well in the cup final and just didn’t get the result.
“This time around is a bit different.
“We’ve had a good run of games and we feel like certain individuals are playing well.
“Cossy coming in and scoring two goals at the weekend is massive for us.”
If the game at Hampden is as tight an affair as last time, there’s every chance it could go all the way to penalties for the right to play either Hearts or Inverness Caley Thistle in May’s final.
Lowe revealed the Reds will be prepared for that eventuality.
He said: “The gaffer’s done it before every cup game.
“All of us will take a penalty, then he’ll have his five, six or seven who need to take them on the day.
“I would (volunteer).
“I’m not the best penalty taker, but we’ve got a lot of good ones.”
With Neil Lennon now Celtic boss and having made changes to their style of play, Lowe is keen for Aberdeen to capitalise on any uncertainty in the Hoops’ ranks.
He said: “Their team’s changed, and they’ve changed their formation a little bit – they’ve gone to five at the back.
“We’re not sure how they’ll play. Sometimes change is hard to deal with and hopefully we can take advantage of that and play on their weaknesses.
“We’re well aware of that, but need to make sure we perform firstly.
“We’ve always said, if they’re going to have the majority of the ball, we’re quite confident we can defend well throughout the game.
“But we know we’ll get chances and we had a couple where we could’ve nicked it (at Parkhead).
“If we have the same game plan and perform in the right way, we’ll get chances.
“We just need to take them.”