Alex Smith: Confident Dons look real deal

11/02/18 WILLIAM HILL SCOTTISH CUP 5TH RND ABERDEEN v DUNDEE UNITED PITTODRIE - ABERDEEN Aberdeen's Gary MacKay-Steven (11) celebrates his goal with team mates

There is a swagger about Aberdeen which could take the Dons all the way to Scottish Cup glory this season.

The Dons cruised through to the quarter-final of the competition with the minimum of fuss against Dundee United on Sunday at Pittodrie as they continued their excellent start to 2018.

But it was Derek McInnes’ post-match comments which really struck a chord for me.

He said all eight clubs remaining in the competition will be dreaming of winning the cup in May but his club will feel disappointed if they don’t go on and win the cup.

Derek is normally a man who is guarded in his comments but the way his team is playing has clearly given everyone at Pittodrie a great deal of self- confidence and belief.

It’s not hard to see why. Gary Mackay-Steven is two goals away from double figures for the season with Kenny McLean a goal behind him while Niall McGinn seems to be involved in every goal since he returned to the club.

Adam Rooney is into double figures again too and Ryan Christie’s form is excellent.

There is an expectancy for a goal every time Derek’s team crosses the halfway line at the moment.

Aberdeen looked very comfortable against Dundee United. They eased into a two goal lead and then re-established it when United pulled a goal back.

That showed the Dons have the answers when a team scores against them. They have to be careful about complacency though but knowing the manager as I do I doubt that will be an issue.

They have produced two very strong performances at home in the cup and while they will need a third for what promises to be a much tougher task against Steve Clarke’s in-form Kilmarnock in the quarter-final I’m sure the Dons are capable of progressing.

What happens in the next two league games will determine the mood in the Aberdeen camp for the cup-tie. The Dons head to Easter Road to play Hibernian this weekend before welcoming Celtic to Pittodrie next weekend.

They are two big games and two difficult ones.

But Aberdeen must be taking encouragement in the way Celtic slipped up at Kilmarnock.

Celtic are still in pole position and the favourites to win the Premiership again but they will be looking at Aberdeen making ground on them and feeling a little uneasy.

It never happened last year as the gap widened steadily all season.

It will be interesting to see if Celtic drop more points and Aberdeen can close the gap further.