Theo Snelders: Scottish Cup win for Aberdeen is 'long overdue'

Scottish Cup final: Celtic v Aberdeen
Date: Saturday, 27 May Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC One Scotland from 13:15 BST, BBC Radio Scotland from 14:00 BST and text commentary on the BBC Sport Scotland website

Aberdeen goalkeeping great Theo Snelders believes a Scottish Cup final win for the Dons is long overdue.

The Dutchman was a penalty shoot-out hero when Aberdeen beat Celtic in 1990.

"In my house I've got a picture of after I saved the penalty and sometimes you look at it and think it was like yesterday," Snelders told BBC Scotland.

"But then you think it's 15 years ago, then 20, then 25 and now 27 years. It's already gone on too long and it's time for Aberdeen to win that cup again."

Since the 1990 under Alex Smith, Aberdeen have twice been Scottish Cup runners-up, losing to Rangers in 1993 and 2000.

The League Cup has been a happier hunting ground for the Dons of late and current manager Derek McInnes guided his men to glory in that competition in 2014.

The 1990 Scottish Cup final was the first to be settled by penalty kicks, replacing the previous format of a replay in the event of a draw.

It had finished 0-0 at the end of full-time and extra-time between Aberdeen and Celtic, with Brian Irvine eventually sealing the Dons' 9-8 victory on spot-kicks after Snelders had saved from Anton Rogan.

Aberdeen Scottish Cup graphic
Aberdeen, with Snelders in goal, last lifted the Scottish Cup in 1990

If Irvine had missed it would have been the turn of the two goalkeepers to take penalties.

"Most of the penalties were hit quite well and I remember Pat Bonner going past me near the end and he was saying 'we are next!'," said Snelders.

"I didn't really have a philosophy. Nowadays you study penalties but in those days you didn't do that. The only theory I had was that a right-footer would shoot across his standing leg and a left-footer would do the same - especially with defenders. Luckily that theory went well for the final penalty."

'It was my best moment in football'

Snelders, who spent eight years at Pittodrie, had made a deliberate attempt to rouse the Dons fans for inspiration before Rogan stepped forward.

"I remembered when Graham Watson took his penalty, on the halfway line the Celtic players were winding the Celtic end up," he recalled.

"I did the same as they did with our crowd. Aberdeen had 25,000 supporters there and they were in the goal behind me. The noise was immense and it was a nice one-two combination with the fans.

Aberdeen's Theo Snelders celebrates saving a penalty in the 1990 Scottish Cup final
The 1990 showpiece was the first in Scottish Cup history to be decided by penalties

"You have a lot of moments in football but this was something you remember for the rest of your life. It was my best moment in football. A game that goes to such a climax and having a big say in the outcome was a great feeling.

"There was quite a story in Holland because they broadcast the game live. But at that time they only had the satellite at a certain time and they didn't calculate that it might go to extra-time and penalties.

"So in Holland, my mum was watching the game and just before the final penalties, it went to a different programme and they didn't know the score. Later in the hotel I had to phone her to tell her that we won it!"

Snelders, now 53, went on to sign for Rangers before returning to the Netherlands, where he is now a coach at FC Twente. But he regularly returns to the north-east of Scotland to speak or attend special football events in Aberdeen.

Aberdeen
Aberdeen's 1990 Scottish Cup-winning team

Recently he met a Dons fan who was lucky enough to grab a special memento from that glorious Hampden victory in 1990.

"My gloves went into the crowd," said Snelders.

"It's quite funny, I remember a photo with the guy who caught one. I met him at Andrew Considine's testimonial dinner.

"We were staying in a hotel in Aberdeen and this guy came along to tell me that he caught one of the gloves. He said at that time he was offered £500 to sell it but he kept it as a big souvenir.

"I don't know who's got the other one!"

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