Dundee, at present a promising second in the First Division but clearly this season's cup outsiders, have a double incentive to follow Raith's example. They only failed to win promotion to the Premier Division last season by a narrow margin and they feel in need of some compensation. Jim Duffy, their player-manager, points out that the last time the club won an important cup competition was 20 years ago, but that by beating two Premier Division teams, Kilmarnock and Hearts, along the way to today's final, they may have sown some doubts in Aberdeen minds.
With Morten Wieghorst, who has recently been playing for Denmark in European Championship matches, and the highly promising Neil McCann, Dundee feel that they can give Aberdeen a real test at Hampden. Roy Aitken, Aberdeen's comparatively new manager, says he would not be surprised if that were the case.
"I'm anticipating that they'll give us some problems, but our fans deserve a bonus after what happened last season," he said. That was when the club sank ominously and looked like being relegated for the first time. Aitken, the former Newcastle and Celtic defender, was brought in to replace Willie Miller, and he managed to steer the club to victory in a relegation play-off.
Aitken, who will recall Eoin Jess to his attack and prefer Michael Watt in goal to the experienced Theo Snelders, will hope that his side's semi- final win over Rangers has given his a boost in confidence.
With McCann having scored five goals in the competition so far for Dundee and Bill Dodds four for Aberdeen, the strike-power necessary to an exciting final certainly exists. Both teams also like to play a passing game. Dundee's determination is unquestioned, but Aberdeen's exciting teenager, Stephen Glass, believes that their threat can be snuffed out: "We've got the belief - all we have to do is tighten up defensively."Reuse content