Evening Express

The Dons must have belief we had, says cup winner Dom Sullivan

Dom Sullivan allows Pittodrie  fans to touch the League Cup.

Dom Sullivan allows Pittodrie fans to touch the League Cup.

Forty years ago this month Aberdeen paraded the League Cup down Union Street after beating Celtic 2-1 at Hampden.

Dom Sullivan was a midfielder in that team that lifted the trophy in November 1976.

And Sullivan today insisted the Dons must go to Hampden convinced they will win if history is to repeat itself at a sell-out national stadium on Sunday.

Sullivan, 65, said: “We all not just felt, but knew, we would go and win the League Cup.

“I hope this Aberdeen team feels the same.”

Aberdeen are rated 5-1 outsiders to overcome a Celtic side yet to be defeated domestically this season.

Sullivan reckons the Reds can overturn the odds.

He said: “There is a determination in this Aberdeen side.

“That has been shown with the resurgence under Derek McInnes who is doing a great job.

“It certainly looks like Celtic will win the league title as the gap is too much for the other teams to catch up.

“Regardless of that, a cup final is a one-off and Aberdeen can go into it with confidence.”

Under the guidance of manager Ally MacLeod, the Dons shocked that season’s eventual top-flight title winners Celtic to lift the cup.

Scotland legend Kenny Dalglish put the Hoops ahead with a penalty before Drew Jarvie equalised to make it 1-1 at half-time. The sides could not be separated in normal time.

Super substitute Davie Robb, pictured, came on to net three minutes into injury time to secure the 2-1 victory.

Sullivan said: “One of the highlights of my time at Aberdeen was bringing the League Cup back to the city.

“We stayed overnight in Perth after the final then came home on Sunday.

“The welcome we received was sen-sational.

“The whole of Union Street was packed for our open-topped bus parade.”

That League Cup triumph came just six months after Aberdeen avoided relegation on goal difference.

The Dons, under Sir Alex Ferguson, would go on to dominate not just Scottish football with three league titles but also Europe.

The European Cup-Winner’s Cup and Super Cup were both secured in 1983.

Sullivan, who would move to Celtic in 1979, said: “When you look back at the 1976 League Cup win it was the beginning of that renaissance for Aberdeen.

“The team that won the cup was a formidable unit and let’s not forget we beat Rangers 5-1 in the semi-final.

“Not many teams can do that at Hampden.

“It was the beginning of a new era for the club.

“The fact we were nearly relegated the season before just underlines the transformation that took place under Ally MacLeod.

“We won the League Cup and Aberdeen then began to climb further and further up in terms of credibility not just in Scotland but in Europe as well.

“All the way up until they won the European Cup-Winner’s Cup.”