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Ross McCrorie hopes Aberdeen Scottish Cup run can help late push to make squad for Euros

Ross McCrorie.
Ross McCrorie.

Ross McCrorie is not ready to give up on his dream of making Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad for this summer’s European championship finals.

The Aberdeen midfielder, Scotland’s under-21 captain, was called in the national team squad for their Nations League fixtures in October and he is holding out hope of forcing his way into Clarke’s plans by having a strong finish to the season with the Dons.

He said: I think you always have that little bit of hope, but my main focus is Aberdeen, getting us back on track and getting a good run in the Scottish Cup.

“I want to make this as successful a season as it can be. If Aberdeen are playing well, all the players are playing well.

“I think it is not just me, as Andy Considine is in the squad just now and there are other players pushing.

“We will be trying our best and if it is to be then it will be.”

McCrorie and Aberdeen’s Scottish Cup road to Hampden starts at The Rock today (12.15), the home of Dumbarton.

For McCrorie, the Sons’ home is a venue he knows all too well, having spent a spell on loan there from Rangers in 2017.

The experience of playing in a relegation dogfight, months after an equally important learning curve in Ayr United’s promotion-winning campaign in League One, is one McCrorie insists has been invaluable.

He said: “I went to Dumbarton on loan when I was 18, after I’d been at Ayr United, and spent the last two or three months of the season there.

“Ian Durrant brought me in and I had a great time there. It was a massive loan for me because at that age I didn’t want to be playing youth football any more.

Ross McCrorie, right, playing for Dumbarton in 2017.

“I’d been with Ayr and helped them get promoted and then I got the chance to go to Dumbarton to help in a relegation battle.

“Durranty had been a big influence on my career, so I couldn’t have gone anywhere better.

“The fact it was a relegation battle taught me about the other side of the game, the mental side.

“That has helped me get to where I am today, because you have to be mentally strong.

“I’d experienced a promotion, but there it was a totally different thing.

“A lot of people don’t realise how big the mental side of the game is, having that belief you’re going to win and coping when things go against you.

“You have to keep your head down and work away, but people take that side of it for granted because they don’t see it.

“We stayed up, we’d drawn with Dundee United in the second last game, so went into the final day safe and were chilling.”

Those lessons learned when the pressure is on have served McCrorie well and he hopes he can continue to put them to good use as he tried to help Aberdeen kick-start their campaign.

Livingston’s Ciaron Brown (L) in action with Ross McCrorie.

The Dons return to action today still looking to improve a dismal goalscoring record of one goal in the last 10 matches.

McCrorie hopes the cup can bring out the best of the Dons against the League One Sons.

He said: “The last few weeks have been tough, but we have been working to improve on certain aspects of the game.

“We know where we have to improve, scoring goals has been a problem for us this season – it has been a big problem and you can’t get away from it.

“It hasn’t been good enough and we have to make it better.

“I thought certain aspects of the last game at Dundee United, the build-up play, was very good, but it’s the final third bit that hasn’t been clicking.

“Once we can get that working properly we will be okay.

“The form we have been in the last month or so has been frustrating, but hopefully we can change things in the cup this weekend.

“The Scottish Cup is a target for Aberdeen every season and we would love to win it this season.”