Barry Robson believes Aberdeen’s experience of big occasions in Europe will stand them in good stead as they bid to upset Rangers in Sunday’s Viaplay Cup final and land their first silverware in almost a decade.
The Dons have played eight matches in continental competition this term – home and away against Hacken, PAOK Salonika, Eintracht Frankfurt and HJK Helsinki.
Although they have now exited the Europa Conference League, the Pittodrie side took heart from the way they performed in most of their matches and in particular from Thursday’s campaign-concluding 2-0 victory at home to the German side, just days after they had thrashed Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich 5-1.
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Manager Robson feels being involved in such box-office encounters will help his team as they prepare for their biggest match of the season so far at Hampden this weekend.
“The one thing I know about this squad is they have been away at some big stadiums, Frankfurt, PAOK and they lost in the last minute here against PAOK so they’ve been used to the big occasion,” he said on Friday.
“They’ve got a good mentality about them. Being a cup final, all the European games will have helped with that, to be able to play in big games.
“They’ve got some really big games under their belts now so that’s going to be a real positive.”
Robson played for the Dons when they won their last trophy after defeating Inverness on penalties in the League Cup final at Celtic Park in March 2014.
After being handed the reins at Pittodrie earlier this year, he’d love to repeat the feat as a manager.
“It would be great, wouldn’t it,” said the 45-year-old. “It was the first time in 19 years when we won it and they’re memories that always stay with you.
“I said to the players after the European campaign, when you’ve long-retired and you sit and think back, it’s the European games and the cup finals you’ll remember, so just make sure you give everything on the day and try to be the best version of yourself on the pitch.
“We managed to finish third (last season), we played in the group stages in Europe and winning a cup is something we really want to do.
“I just want to see the players and the fans and everyone at the club being happy at winning a cup.”
Aberdeen have taken four points from their two cinch Premiership meetings with Rangers this term, but Robson is braced for a formidable test against Philippe Clement’s team, who are buoyed by their 3-2 Europa League win away to Real Betis on Thursday.
“We know it’s going to be difficult against a proper Rangers team. We know we’re the underdogs,” he said.
“We should never fear them, but we massively respect Rangers. They’re a huge football club with some really good players.
“But we don’t fear anything and we don’t fear anyone.”
Robson declined to confirm whether or not star striker Bojan Miovski would be available after the North Macedonia international sat out Thursday’s win over Frankfurt with a minor hamstring injury.
“He was alright this morning,” said the manager. “Obviously we’ve still got another training session to go tomorrow so we’ll see how he is then and we can go from there.”