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Billy Dodds and Duncan Shearer reflect on partnership which delivered Aberdeen’s Coca-Cola Cup triumph in 1995

Dodds and Shearer were on the scoresheet when the Dons defeated Dundee 2-0 at Hampden Park.

Duncan Shearer (left) and Billy Dodds celebrate winning the Coca-Cola Cup with Aberdeen in 1995.
Duncan Shearer (left) and Billy Dodds celebrate winning the Coca-Cola Cup with Aberdeen in 1995.

Billy Dodds and Duncan Shearer enjoyed a prolific strike partnership which came to the fore when Aberdeen defeated Dundee in the 1995 Coca Cola Cup final.

Dodds and Shearer got the goals in the 2-0 victory over Dundee, which remains the Dons’ last Hampden Park silverware triumph.

In total the pair made 349 appearances for the Dons, netting 145 goals between them during a combined nine years of service at Pittodrie.

Dodds was the semi-final hero, with a double in a memorable 2-1 victory over Rangers.

His strike partner for the final was all set to be Scott Booth, only for him to fail a fitness test due to a hamstring injury on the eve of the match.

That paved the way for 33-year-old Shearer to get the nod from manager Roy Aitken.

Having joined the Dons from Blackburn Rovers in 1992, Shearer was part of a Dons side which reached both domestic cup finals in his debut season, but lost out 2-1 to Rangers on each occasion.

Shearer knew time was running out to sample silverware with Dons

Sensing the League Cup final would be his last opportunity to claim silverware with the club, Shearer was determined to make the most of it.

Shearer said: “I didn’t actually play in the semi-final, and I wasn’t meant to play in the final either.

“It wasn’t until Tommy Craig mentioned to me on the pitch at training on the Saturday afternoon at Pittodrie that Scott had failed his fitness test.

Scott Booth in action for Aberdeen.

“He never told me I was playing, but I was the obvious replacement.

“It maybe sounds a bit selfish, but I was quite delighted that I was going to start the game.

“I had the previous two cup finals inside me and I wanted to make amends for them.

“Two years before that we were beaten in the League Cup final against Rangers by a Gary Smith own goal in extra-time. We were beaten in the Scottish Cup final that year as well.

Duncan Shearer celebrates scoring for Aberdeen.

“We split Celtic and Rangers in the league, but our problem was that we lost the games against Rangers in the league home and away. Apart from that we matched most of their results throughout the season.

“It was a great season for us – finishing second and getting to the two cup finals. But we ended the season empty-handed.”

Dodds in prolific form throughout tournament

Dodds, who was 26 at the time, had joined from St Johnstone the previous year in a then club record £800,000 transfer.

He played an instrumental role in the Reds’ run to the final, netting in triumphs over St Mirren and Motherwell to take Aberdeen to the last-four.

After netting a double against an all-conquering Rangers side in the last four, his goal against the Dark Blues in the final saw him finish the tournament with five goals in as many matches.

Dodds gave the Reds the breakthrough after 33 minutes of the final, showing predatory instincts to tap home after Dundee goalkeeper Michel Pageaud had failed to grasp a Stephen Glass delivery.

Billy Dodds nets in the 1995 Coca-Cola Cup final.

Glass, who was named man of the match, was the architect of Aberdeen’s second goal just a minute after the restart, when he crossed for Shearer to head home.

Shearer, who joined the Dons two years prior to Dodds’ arrival, was greeted with adulation from the Red Army which Dodds joked had passed him by throughout the entire competition.

Dodds said: “During the cup run I was the one who was scoring all the goals right through, and against Dundee as well.

“I had a great run through the cup that season.

“Duncan wasn’t meant to be playing in that final – but he came in and took Scott’s place after he hurt his hamstring. He was getting on a bit but it was no shock to me the big man scored.

Duncan Shearer lifts the Coca-Cola Cup. Image: SNS

“It was funny because even though I scored all the goals all the way through the tournament, once he scored the fans all started singing ‘walking in a Shearer wonderland’.

“He always jokes with me about it saying: ‘Doddsy did all the scoring during the tournament, then I score in the final and they sing for me.’

“I said to him on the pitch: ‘what is it going to take for them to sing for me?’

“But the Aberdeen fans loved us. It was all good fun – there were two sides to it. I always say he took five years off my career because of the amount of running I did for him.”

Shearer thrilled with Aberdeen’s capture of Dodds

Aitken made his move for Dodds in 1994, only six months after he had joined St Johnstone from Dundee.

Given Dodds’ relentless work-rate, news of his arrival was warmly greeted by Shearer, who added: “I was delighted when they signed Billy.

“I remember getting the phone call from Roy Aitken, and I had no idea they were after him. He was at St Johnstone at the time.

Billy Dodds.

“When Roy phoned me on a Wednesday afternoon, I was delighted because I was not a hard worker up front. I tended to concentrate more on getting into the box.

“Billy was a good foil to have, he did a lot of that work for me.

“When Roy phoned me up, the only problem he was having was that Billy liked to wear the number 10 shirt.

“I asked why he saw that as a problem – but it was because I was wearing number 10.

“I told him I didn’t care what number I was wearing – as long as it was between 2 and 11 I was happy.

“I’m not one of these superstitious guys who think that if I’m wearing a number on my back, it will get me goals.

“I went on to number eight after that. Billy proved to be a good signing for Aberdeen.”

Play-off scare gave Aitken’s men platform

Dodds, alongside Shearer, had played a pivotal role in Aberdeen’s rally to avoid relegation in the previous campaign, which ended with a play-off victory against Dunfermline.

Having come through that scare, Dodds says the Reds had momentum on their side.

Dodds added: “Once you get there, there’s a pressure at Aberdeen to get the job done.

“All the pressure was on the final that year.

Manager Roy Aitken celebrates Aberdeen’s Coca-Cola Cup win with players Stewart McKimmie, Duncan Shearer and Billy Dodds. Image: SNS

“We didn’t feel there was any pressure on us when we beat Rangers with all their stars in the semi-final.

“But when you do it, it gets heaped right on to you. I thought we handled it ever so well as a team, in stages in the match and the way we performed on the day.

“We were in a good place then, because it was the year after we stayed up in the play-offs.

“That helped us. We were a right good team and we demolished everybody in front of us in the last few games of that season.

“Even though it was terrible we were in that situation, the way we handled it was by blowing everybody away.

“That gave us a platform. We knew we were a good team.”