Scottish League Cup: Aberdeen captain Russell Anderson hailed following final win over Inverness
Aberdeen would 4-2 winners on penalties
Monday 17 March 2014
Derek McInnes paid tribute to Russell Anderson after he became the first Aberdeen captain in 19 years to lift a trophy following Sunday's Scottish League Cup win over Inverness at Celtic Park.
It might have taken penalties after a goalless 120 minutes for the Dons to emerge 4-2 winners, but it allowed 40,000 supporters from the Granite City to return north and celebrate long and loud into the night.
Anderson, 35, was on the books as a youngster when Aberdeen beat Dundee 2-0 in the League Cup final in 1995 and played in two losing finals for the club in 2000 - one in the League Cup and one in the Scottish Cup - before he left for Sunderland in a £1million deal in 2007.
The defender had loan spells at Plymouth and Burnley before moving on to Derby in 2010 where again he was hampered by injuries before his contract was cancelled by mutual consent in December the following year.
Anderson, capped 11 times for Scotland, returned to Pittodrie to continue his rehabilitation from a hamstring injury and was handed a contract by then manager Craig Brown in January 2012 and reinstated as captain, a move that was vindicated when he lifted the trophy at Parkhead.
Dons boss McInnes was glad that a player so closely associated with the Pittodrie club stepped out of the shadows of previous skippers.
He said: "I said to Russell that he could possibly come into the bracket of players who have endured being at Aberdeen and being a local boy he would have taken that on himself.
"Growing up as a kid he saw Willie Miller and Stewart McKimmie lift trophies and I felt it was his time. People will now look at him differently for the rest of his life.
"He is an Aberdeen captain who lifted a trophy. It was such a pivotal moment and he deserves that tag as being a successful captain."
Caley's chances of winning the first trophy in their history all but disappeared when striker Billy McKay had the first penalty of the shoot-out saved by 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 Adam Rooney to fire in the winner, which left Inverness left-back Graeme Shinnie frustrated.
"Penalties are a lottery, they can go either way but it is a hard way to lose the final," Shinnie said.
"But as much as it was frustrating, we can be proud of ourselves."
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