Mark Reynolds: Aberdeen can prove Brendan Rodgers wrong at Hampden in cup final

23 May 2017

Mark Reynolds has warned Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers he is making a mistake if he thinks Aberdeen only have one weapon in their armoury.

The Hoops manager branded Derek McInnes' Dons a long-ball outfit after this month's 3-1 league win at Pittodrie.

But defender Reynolds believes his side could give Rodgers a shock when they meet again in Saturday's William Hill Scottish Cup final.

He said: "We can play long-ball football but that's just one way to go. We can pop it about, we've got pace so we can get it wide, we can go through the middle. We have a few strings to our bow.

"Hopefully he thinks we have just got the one and that will give us a wee advantage.

"I'm sure that's him starting his mind games. He's a top, top manager. He's got his reasons for saying that.

"We don't really bother with what others are saying though. We always just worry about what we can affect.

"We can go long if we need to but we have other ways to break them down.

"Is there anything wrong with going long? Some people think there is but I don't see an issue. If it gets you the win, it gets you the win.

"People talk about winning ugly versus playing the beautiful game. If you're winning fairly that's all that matters."

Rodgers will not have much to worry about if Aberdeen start like they did the last time the sides met.

Celtic found themselves three goals up after just 11 minutes but the Reds did make more of a game of it as the match went on.

However, it was another letdown for the Pittodrie faithful after watching their side show the champions far too much respect back in November's Betfred Cup final.

Reynolds says lessons have been learned from that 3-0 defeat.

"You saw in the last cup final that lack of experience cost us," he said. "It's about getting used to being in those high-pressure situations and making sure you can turn up and deliver.

"If you look at the 79 minutes against Celtic when we did go toe-to-toe with them, then the games against Rangers and Partick Thistle, then we will go in with a lot of confidence.

"But we're under no illusions. Celtic are used to pressure, they are used to winning and used to big games. They are a big team and this is what they are all about.

"We need to make sure that we can live with the uncomfortable conditions they are used to.

"We will fully expect Celtic to be firing on all cylinders. They are going for the treble and looking to go the season undefeated in all domestic competitions.

"We know we have players who can win matches for us, who can stop them scoring goals. If everyone turns up I'm sure we can give them a run for their money."

A winning display could also fire Reynolds into the international reckoning ahead of Scotland's Hampden clash with England next month after being named in Gordon Strachan's squad this week.

But the former Motherwell man is not looking any further than his duel with Leigh Griffiths and co.

He said: "It's a huge honour to get called up for your country, especially when it's against England at Hampden. It's the stuff dreams are made of.

"To go and win the Scottish Cup would be huge as well but that's the focus at the moment.

"Celtic are the form team in Scotland. They have gone undefeated to win the league and we're going to have to compete with that.

"But we feel strong and we feel confident. We're just hoping to carry that into Saturday."

Source: PA