When Scott McKenna strides out to face Rangers on Sunday he will be hoping to make up for last season’s Hampden heartache.
Aberdeen take on the Gers for a place in the League Cup final against either Hearts or Celtic.
For McKenna it will be the second time he has graced the national stadium for the Dons after breaking into the team in September 2017. The 21-year-old’s first experience was not a pleasant one as the Reds were beaten 3-0 by Motherwell in the Scottish Cup semi-final.
Ahead of this weekend’s last-four clash in the League Cup, McKenna is hoping to banish the bad memories of that April defeat by the Steelmen.
On a day when the Dons didn’t get going, McKenna was at fault for Well’s second goal, as he sliced a clearance back towards his own goal that allowed Ryan Bowman to outmuscle Kari Arnason and slot past Joe Lewis.
McKenna is hoping for happier memories on his Hampden return.
The Scotland international said: “That is motivation going into this game because I think we still need to right a few wrongs from that game – especially me.
“I was at fault for the second goal that day and I want to make up for it by getting the team into a final. I don’t think about it too much but when you get to a semi-final like this it is a chance to put something right that went wrong in the past.
“Hopefully we are going to take that opportunity and get a positive result and get into the final. The Aberdeen fans are brilliant – they would do anything they can to get to games, regardless of kick-off times or anything else.
“We’ve been in semi-finals before and, in my time, I’ve never got the team into a final.
“It’s been a couple of seasons since the team reached a final and hopefully I can be part of getting us back to a final.
“It’s disappointing, not getting to finals and giving yourself the chance to win silverware.
“The big aim of mine while I’m at Aberdeen is to do that.”
It is expected McKenna will come back into the Aberdeen team for Sunday’s game after suspension.
He missed last Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Hearts at Tynecastle and the 4-1 win against St Mirren at Pittodrie prior to the international break after being hit with a retrospective two-match ban by SFA for a challenge on Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard in the 1-0 loss at Parkhead on September 29.
Although unavailable for the Reds, McKenna has seen action with Scotland. He came on at half-time in the 2-1 Uefa Nations League loss to Israel on October 11 and played for 90 minutes three days later in the 3-1 friendly loss to Portugal.
McKenna said he was pleased to get game time for the Dark Blues, adding: “It was disappointing to be suspended but I played 90 minutes for Scotland against Portugal. That game was important; if I hadn’t got any game time with Scotland then it would have been three or four weeks without a game going into the semi-final.
“Getting the 90 minutes against Portugal was a major boost for me.
“The atmosphere will be incredible; obviously, there is a rivalry between the two teams but it is a game we firmly believe we can win and personally I can’t wait for the game.”
This the second meeting between Aberdeen and Rangers this season. The first was at Pittodrie on the Premiership’s opening weekend, the Dons salvaging a 1-1 draw thanks to Bruce Anderson’s injury-time equaliser after playing against 10 men for 78 minutes.
Alfredo Morelos was sent off for a kick at McKenna before James Tavernier gave the Gers a shock lead with a penalty.
McKenna is hoping for a different outcome this weekend and said: “Them going down to 10 men was the worst thing that could have happened for us that day. They sat in and made it difficult for us on that occasion.
“Hopefully there’s 11 men on the park for both teams and hopefully I can finish the game this time because I got injured quite early on in the last game.
“We’ll just look to bring a good performance and if we do that then we’re capable of getting to the final.”