Former Aberdeen striker Billy Dodds believes the Dons’ underdog status will suit them in tomorrow’s Betfred Cup semi final against Rangers at Hampden Park.
The Gers have found their stride both domestically and in the Europa League in recent weeks, with Steven Gerrard’s men fresh from three wins from their last four games in all competitions.
Derek McInnes’ Reds sit seventh after nine league matches, the latest a 2-1 loss to Hearts at Tynecastle last weekend, however Dodds is refusing to write Aberdeen off and feels they are capable of rising to the occasion in Glasgow.
Dodds said: “I think I’m being level-headed and fair-minded when I say Aberdeen are not favourites for this one.
“Rangers have got the momentum and are winning games. I think it suits Aberdeen not going in as favourites, as they have tended to struggle. I said it myself last year, I tipped them to beat Motherwell in the Scottish Cup semi final.
“It puts a pressure on them, whereas when they are not favourites they sometimes get a result.
“They are still capable of a big performance – they had one on the last day of the season when they won away to Celtic.
“I wouldn’t write Aberdeen off whatsoever.”
Dodds feels the Reds’ wide players can be the catalyst, adding: “I think the key is their width – Gary Mackay-Steven and Niall McGinn have got to be a threat. When the two of them are on their game they are brilliant to watch.
“They will be organised, they shape their team around being a solid unit and Derek has always had results with that.
“They will not want to give anything away, but any opportunities that come their way they will be expecting Mackay-Steven and McGinn to do the business, and the striker to take chances.”
Aberdeen’s support will be outnumbered having sold just over 10,000 tickets, despite the club initially demanding a 50-50 split with the Ibrox outfit.
Dodds, whose semi final double in a 2-1 victory over the Gers put the Dons on their way to winning the competition in 1995, says Aberdeen’s players must not be sidetracked by the fiasco, adding: “It’s identical to the semi final which we won in 1995, because there were 6,000 Aberdeen fans there that night. It still doesn’t stop you from going on and winning the game.
“Aberdeen have got one of the best supports in Scotland but there are certain fixtures they will wait for and then turn up. They got to the final of the League Cup against Inverness and there were 40,000 there.
“I’m not having a go – I was just surprised when I saw them demanding 50% of Hampden Park. I knew right away there was no chance the fans would sell that.”