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Joe Harper: This can be the season Aberdeen’s Scottish Cup pain ends

The ball appears to move slightly as Lewis Ferguson scores for Aberdeen from the penalty spot against Rangers.
The ball appears to move slightly as Lewis Ferguson scores for Aberdeen from the penalty spot against Rangers.

Aberdeen’s 32 year Scottish Cup drought can end this season if they recreate the impressive levels shown against Rangers.

If the Dons can deliver the same quality, passion, tempo and fearlessness in every round of the cup that they showed in Tuesday’s Premiership draw, they can lift the trophy in May.

Why not? Aberdeen were the better team against Rangers and deserved to win.

If they can outplay the team at the top of the league, Stephen Glass’ side can beat anyone in the Scottish Cup – if they deliver their A game.

Aberdeen begin the bid to win the Scottish Cup for the first time since 1990 with a home clash against League Two Edinburgh City on Saturday.

That fourth round tie must be viewed by the Dons as the first step on the way to ultimately lifting the trophy at Hampden.

Cup ties are all about balance. You must be confident and have no fear, but it is vital opponents are not underestimated.

Edinburgh City may be further down the pyramid of Scottish football, but they will be fired up to cause a major upset at Pittodrie.

Aberdeen must have the same approach against Edinburgh City as they did in drawing 1-1 with defending Premiership champions Rangers.

It is also vital the strongest possible team starts against Edinburgh City as this is a game of huge significance to the season.

I’m sure valuable lessons will have been learned from the disappointment of the League Cup defeat to Championship Raith Rovers earlier this season.

Aberdeen were flying at the time, but Glass made seven changes to his starting XI to face Raith from the one that beat Breidablik in Europe in the previous match.

A Europa Conference League play-off first leg with Qarabag in Azerbaijan was looming just days after the cup tie at Raith.

Resting so many players for the trip to Qarabag, including influential captain Scott Brown, was a gamble that didn’t pay off.

Raith Rovers’ Ethon Varian slots the ball past Joe Lewis to make it 1-1

This time Aberdeen’s strongest team must face Edinburgh City.

The League Two underdogs will be desperate to cause a cup shock, so Aberdeen must be fired up to take control of the tie early on.

Ideally there will be a repeat of the intensity of the Rangers game when Aberdeen came out of the traps to gain control.

Aberdeen remained in control until the disappointment of losing the opening goal – just seconds after the setback of having a clear penalty rejected.

Aberdeen should have been taking a spot-kick for the chance to go 1-0 up.

Instead 20 seconds later keeper Joe Lewis was picking the ball out of the back of his net.

It was a hammer blow for Aberdeen.

Rangers’ Ianis Hagi celebrates with James Tavernier after making it 1-0 against Aberdeen.

After that setback they did lose control for a period and stopped closing down Rangers as much.

They allowed the Ibrox club too much time in possession.

However, to Aberdeen’s credit, they regrouped at half-time and came out strong to again take a grip of the game.

It was testament to the battling spirit and self belief of the Dons that they rallied after that set-back and were unfortunate not to get three points.

If Aberdeen can continue to combine the quality, belief and never-say-die attitude throughout the Scottish Cup, the Red Army’s 32-year wait to lift the trophy could end.

Ramsay will have impressed scouts

Aberdeen right-back Calvin Ramsay will certainly have impressed the English Premier League clubs watching him against Rangers.

Manchester United, Leicester City, Leeds United, Tottenham and Southampton all sent scouts to watch the teen in the 1-1 draw with Rangers.

I’m sure they will have submitted glowing reports to their clubs about the potential of the 18-year-old Aberdeen right-back.

Five English top flight clubs watched Aberdeen’s Calvin Ramsay against Rangers.

Ramsay was up against Ryan Kent, who is not easy to play against.

However, the teen did very well.

Young players can get overawed by certain players, teams and the occasion.

Not Ramsay. He wasn’t fazed in the slightest and got fired into Kent as the two had a real battle throughout the match.

It has been a sensational breakthrough season for Ramsay when you consider he only made his first team debut in March last year.

Aberdeen right-back Calvin Ramsay in action against Rangers.

The teenager is clearly not being sidetracked by the number and size of clubs interested in him.

Clubs like Liverpool and Newcastle United are also watching the Pittodrie Youth Academy graduate.

When you add in teams from the Italian and German top flights also interested in Ramsay, the teenager is hot property.

However, his performance levels on the pitch have not dropped.

Whether Ramsay leaves Pittodrie or not this month remains to be seen.

However, I’m sure it would take a club tabling a bid that obliterates Aberdeen’s £3m record transfer fee for Scott McKenna to even tempt the Reds.

One thing is certain – Ramsay is a superb talent with a very bright future in the game.

Banks o’ Dee will be fired up for tie

Good luck to junior club Banks o’ Dee who host Raith Rovers in a Scottish Cup cracker at Spain Park on Saturday.

North Region Junior Superleague Dee will obviously be the underdogs against the Championship side.

However, Raith will write them off at their peril.

Banks o’ Dee are a fantastic club with big ambitions.

Dee are a strong team that are used to winning – which goes a long way.

I’m predicting a fantastic cup tie at Spain Park – and hopefully Banks o’ Dee can pull off a memorable result.

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