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McInnes targeting cup double
Derek McInnes savoured his first trophy as a manager after Aberdeen picked up the Scottish League Cup with a penalty shootout win over Inverness, before targeting a cup double before the end of the season.
After a goalless 120 minutes in front of more than 40,000 Pittodrie fans who had travelled to the east end of Glasgow in hope and expectation, came the spot-kick drama.
When striker Adam Rooney slammed his penalty past Caley keeper Dean Brill to make it 4-2 to the Dons, silverware was on its way to the Granite City for the first time in 19 years.
Former Bristol City boss McInnes admitted it was his best day in football and now he wants to taste more success in the William Hill Scottish Cup, where Aberdeen take on St Johnstone in next month's semi-final.
A delighted McInnes said: "We have tasted that as a team and I think it is important that we try to get that success again.
"We still have a chance in the Scottish Cup and hopefully we can get back and have another day like that.
"It was a special day, the supporters made it special and I am delighted to take the cup back to Aberdeen.
"I remember sitting with Russell Anderson at the team photo at the start of the season and saying 'next season, rather than having two balls there, hopefully we will have two cups' and he kind of laughed.
"But I said if we can win one cup, we can win two.
"We accept that cups in recent seasons have been huge anti-climaxes and disappointment for Aberdeen and there was a couple of generations that hadn't see them win a trophy.
"But there were 40,000 inside here to see Aberdeen win a cup and that can only be good for us going forward
"We weren't great but how many finals have you seen that weren't great?"
Caley's chances of winning the first trophy in their history all but disappeared when striker Billy McKay had the first penalty saved by Dons keeper Jamie Langfield before Greg Tansey ballooned his over the bar.
Nicky Ross and Aaron Dorran scored for John Hughes' side but after Barry Robson, Nicky Low and Scott Vernon had all slotted in for Aberdeen, it was down to former Caley striker Rooney to spark wild celebrations among the Dons fans who had taken over the east end of Glasgow and outnumbered their Caley counterparts by around four to one.
McInnes, who in midweek signed a new deal at the Pittodrie club which takes him to 2017, revealed an unconventional attitude to the penalty shoot-out.
"I said to the players at the penalty kicks that it is not a lottery," he said.
"I recalled the game against Alloa in the second round when the standard of penalty kicks was terrific and we didn't miss one.
"We practised them all week and I told them to go and be confident."
McInnes admitted his first touch of the gleaming trophy had come after Rooney's penalty had confirmed the Dons' first cup final victory since the 2-0 defeat of Dundee in the 1995 Coca Cola League Cup final.
He said: "We gave up the opportunity to touch the cup at press days in previous stages of the tournament.
"We wanted to touch it when it was ours and it wasn't ours until the last penalty was in. So I was delighted."
Rooney was somewhat relieved to score the winning penalty in front of so many expectant Aberdeen supporters and is looking for the Pittodrie club to use the cup final victory as a springboard to better things.
The Irishman said: "I tried not to think of the fans watching, I was just trying to get a good connection with the ball and thankfully it went in.
"It was nice to grind out the win in the end and reward the fans who came here.
"I think we could have sold 50,000 tickets, as there seemed to be so many in the city who couldn't get them, which is incredible support and they did give us that lift.
"We have to make sure we build on this now."
Inverness boss John Hughes claimed Caley should have had a penalty with just minutes remaining when Dons defender Andrew Considine grappled with Caley skipper Richie Foran at a corner.
"It might have been a different outcome because I felt we were denied a stonewall penalty with Richie Foran," he said.
"It was a stonewaller, even from where I was in the dugout. You saw the reaction of my players, so that was disappointing.
"It is not sour grapes, I give all credit to Aberdeen and we rode our luck a bit when they hit the post but when it is a penalty, simple as that. It would have changed the game, I think we would have gone on to win it.
"But when it goes to penalty kicks it is anyone's match. I am disappointed for the boys but so proud of them. It could have been our day."
Hughes, though, dismissed an earlier Dons claim for a penalty when Rooney went to ground after a challenge by Caley defender Josh Meekings.
He said: "That was a dive. But I am not having a go at the referee. I thought it was a good football match."