Dons to end trophy wait
Our Gareth Friel expects Aberdeen to end their 19-year trophy wait in Sunday's Scottish League Cup final.
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It's been 14 years since Aberdeen last reached a cup final and five more since they last won a trophy so it's little wonder that over 40,000 Dons fans will take their place at Celtic Park on Sunday for the League Cup final against Inverness.
Given that Aberdeen are often cited as the third biggest club in Scotland, it must hurt fans that the likes of Queen of the South, Gretna and Ross County have made cup finals since they last did, while Livingston, Kilmarnock and St Mirren, among others, have all lifted the League Cup in the last 10 years.
Derek McInnes has the chance to make himself a Granite City legend having taken over as manager at Pittodrie towards the end of last season. The Dons are in the Scottish Cup semi-finals and sit second in the Premiership table - a win on Sunday would set them on their way to what could be one of their best-ever seasons.
But they are under huge pressure. They are overwhelming favourites to beat Inverness and their fans will outnumber Caley Thistle's by almost six to one.
The Dons are big favourites for a reason. They are 10 points better off than their opponents in the league and head to Hampden on the back of six wins in their last seven, including the 4-0 win over St Johnstone that got them here and Scottish Cup wins over Celtic and Dumbarton.
Inverness sealed their place in the final with a penalty shootout victory over Hearts which was the first of six games unbeaten. But they recently lost back-to-back games 5-0 before at least stopping the rot on Wednesday with a goalless draw against Hibs.
A thrashing against Celtic away can possibly be explained but a five-goal thumping at home to Dundee United in the Scottish Cup quarters is harder to justify.
The defending in that Cup tie was almost beyond parody and must really worry fans of John Hughes' side. They did manage to keep a clean sheet against Hibs but there weren't too many signs that they can go to Glasgow and win.
With all that in mind, it's surprising to see some firms still going odds-against on the Dons at 11/10. With most other bookies offering odds-on, that 11/10 surely won't last until Sunday so it's well worth getting on now.
In the sub-markets, Peter Pawlett has turned into a big player for Aberdeen this season and he is decent value to get on the scoresheet on Sunday.
The midfielder has scored seven times this season including big strikes against Celtic in the Scottish Cup and St Johnstone in the semis of this competition.
He missed the clash against Dumbarton last week through injury but has been passed fit to take his place at Celtic Park.
Pawlett is 7/2 to score on another big occasion looks decent enough to me.