Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes happy at Dons but demands more from team
|Scottish League Cup final: Aberdeen v Celtic|
|Date: Sunday, 27 November Venue: Hampden Park Kick-off: 15:00 GMT|
|Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland, live text commentary on BBC Sport website|
Success comes in many forms in football. Three points, winning runs, clean sheets, player sales…
Trophies are more tangible and Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has the chance of delivering his second in three years in the League Cup final against Celtic on Sunday.
There's more to it than that, though. Progress also represents success.
The former St Johnstone and Bristol City manager believes he has achieved that since taking charge at Pittordrie three-and-a-half years ago.
"I was well aware of what the club and city was capable of being," he told Sportsound in an interview broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland on Tuesday.
"We looked way short of that to be honest.
"I wanted the supporters to wake up on a Saturday morning and really look forward to coming to the game. Not just coming through duty or loyalty.
"Supporters were right to question why other clubs had picked up trophies and cups. Why shouldn't Aberdeen be one of them?
"I wanted to work for a club that had that demand and pressure to deliver.
"If somebody had said to me on day one this is where we would be with the current team, a team that's met the demand to get regular European football, to win a trophy, to be 90 minutes from another trophy, to push Celtic when we really shouldn't have any chance given the vast difference in resources - I'm happy."
McInnes is also adamant he is content at Pittodrie for the long term, though admits indirect approaches have been made to lure him elsewhere. Progress attracts interest.
"It'd be naïve to think that you don't get asked about availability but the chairman and I have a real strong working relationship," the 45-year-old explained.
"I want to leave here on the back of an era of being successful rather than just talking about a League Cup that we won in 2014.
"I want to say that same message to my players as well. I want them to leave on the back of being international players here, winning trophies here.
"I want this to be a difficult place to leave. At this moment in time I could not be happier.
"We have a good thing going here. It's everything I thought it would be but I still feel we've got more to come."
There's been a burden on each and every Aberdeen manager since Sir Alex Ferguson's glorious reign delivered league titles and the European Cup Winners' Cup.
The landscape has changed significantly, though. Celtic are streets ahead financially now. That alone makes it almost impossible to mount a sustainable title challenge.
Recently, Aberdeen have been the only side with any chance of toppling Celtic, a task that has proved out of reach.
Cup football is different. Aberdeen are underdogs on Sunday against a domestically-dominant Celtic under Brendan Rodgers but the one-off nature of a final encourages the Dons manager.
"We believe we can win it," added McInnes. "We won't be fazed by the game. We're well aware of the strength of our opponent.
"We're well aware that we're underdogs. We're well aware that nobody out-with our club expects us to be anything other than runners-up but we go there to win the trophy.
"While there's been a downturn in the business side of it in Aberdeen and a lot of unemployment over the last couple of years, the football club has tried to keep driving some positivity. I think we've done that in the main.
"Hopefully, there's an even bigger buzz and feel-good factor about the place next week."