Their bottle has been questioned but when it mattered most Aberdeen delivered as they edged a pulsating Betfred Cup semi-final against Rangers at Hampden.
A competitive and feisty encounter against Steven Gerrard’s side was settled by the head of Lewis Ferguson as he rose highest to power home the only goal of the game and book his side’s return to the National Stadium where they will face Celtic on December 2.
The first semi-final between Hearts and Celtic was a slow-burner. The Hampden version was a red hot cauldron from the first whistle with both sides having a player cautioned inside the opening two minutes, Ovie Ejaria for the Gers and captain Graeme Shinnie for the Dons.
This was two sides going at it and Niall McGinn had two good chances for the Dons, the first a free kick which was tipped round the post by Allan McGregor, the second, arguably the better chance, saw the Northern Ireland international scoop his shot over the crossbarfrom 12 yards.
The Dons suffered a blow on the half hour mark when Andy Considine was stretchered off following a clash of heads with Sadiq. Play was stopped for five minutes while the full back received treatment prior to his departure. Max Lowe replaced the injured defender.
Mackay-Steven was Aberdeen’s most potent attacking threat in an impressive first half showing and he almost broke the deadlock with a cross-cum-shot which McGregor did well to tip over the crossbar.
It was an intriguing and frantic first half in which the Light Blues dominated the possession but the Dons looked more likely to score.
The absence of the suspended Alfredo Morelos and cup-tied Kyle Lafferty left Rangers without a focal point up front with the erratic Sadiq unable to offer a finishing touch to test Joe Lewis.
Frustratingly for the Dons support, James Wilson spent the first half chasing shadows in what was a forlorn chase between the two Rangers central defenders Joe Worrall and Connor Goldson. He reached the break without having so much as a sight of goal.
Lewis was finally tested at the start of the second half when he blocked a James Tavernier drive and his effort set the tone for a spell of intense Rangers pressure towards the Aberdeen goal but the Dons stood firm thanks in part to the outstanding Devlin.
Such was the grip Rangers had on the second half it took the Dons until the 69th minute to get into McGregor’s box but the goalkeeper did well to cut out McGinn’s low cross after good work down the left from Lowe. It was a rare foray forward but one which the Dons took comfort from and they made the most of their next chance to get the ball in the box as they broke the deadlock with 10 minutes remaining.
Mackay-Steven won his side a corner and from McGinn’s delivery Lewis Ferguson rose highest to power a header home from six yards to spark bedlam among the Dons support.
Aberdeen then did what they had done for the previous 80 minutes, soaked up the pressure and secured their place in the final.