Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes insists James Maddison can be the club’s hero and help bring the League Cup back to the Granite City tomorrow.
The Dons face Celtic in the Betfred Cup final at Hampden with the first major piece of silverware of the Scottish season at stake in the national stadium.
The Hoops have beaten Aberdeen in both league meetings so far in the campaign but, having watched the on-loan Norwich City attacker sail through his club initiation by signing Enrique Iglesias’ hit single Hero, McInnes insists the 20-year-old will handle his first final in Scottish football with ease.
He said: “He’s a very confident boy. In any sort of situation, he’s very mature, very able, very confident in himself. He carries himself well. That will serve him well. He’s going to have a top career. There’s a fine line between being confident and over-confident, and he’s just got it spot on.
“From the first moment I spoke to him on the phone to the first time we met I knew.
“His initiation, the song in front of the other players, can be quite daunting for a young boy thrown into a new team but he would have made judge’s houses in X Factor. He was absolutely brilliant. It was like Justin Bieber out there singing. He brought the house down.”
Maddison has endured some rough treatment since arriving in Scotland and found himself booked for simulation in his side’s win at Caley Thistle last weekend.
The Dons were able to use TV evidence to have the card rescinded but McInnes believes Maddison will just have to get used to come close attention on the pitch.
He said: “I understand he’s going to get kicked. He’s someone who takes the ball in tight areas. He draws people towards them.
“I just don’t want it to go above and beyond but I don’t think it has been that. It’s something that he deals with. He just gets up and the majority of time just gets on with it and he gets kicked again.
“That’s because of the type of player he is. People recognise that if he gets too much time and space he can hurt you.”
Brendan Rodgers’ Hoops are strong favourites to win the trophy tomorrow but McInnes believes his players are ready to shock the bookmakers and become the first Scottish team to beat Celtic this season.
He said: “I totally get why people are being so complimentary of them but I still think we can beat them. I have no doubt about that.
“A lot of things have to go our way and we have to play very well but I still think it’s a game we can win. The game is played on the pitch.”