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Celts won't catch me with my pants down; BETFRED LEAGUE CUP FINAL Lucky pink boxers are top drawers for Dons ace Shinnie.

Byline: MICHAEL GANNON m.gannon@dailyrecord.co.uk

GRAEME SHINNIE is looking to make the most of his Hampden briefs encounter.

While most players look to dig out their suits for the Betfred Cup Final, the Aberdeen ace is making sure he keeps hold of his lucky pants.

He's not usually the superstitious type but Shinnie's had to stick with the natty underwear while his side keep up their hot streak.

Shinnie said: "I'm not overly superstitious but I've started one since I've come here. It's only recently it's happened.

"Andy Considine and a few of the lads were having a go at the boxers I had on. They are white and pink and seem to be doing well for me.

"Every time I wear them we seem to win. They have turned into my lucky boxers so I will need to wear them on Sunday.

"When we went on a good run and won six in a row I was warming up at the front of the queue.

"I made sure I did that each week.

But I won't be doing anything new on Sunday. Have I still got my cup final boxers? I'll dig them out this week."

Shinnie won't get caught with his pants down on Sunday as he knows what it takes to lift silverware at Hampden.

The versatile defender got his hands on the Scottish Cup with Inverness last year after dumping Celtic in the semi-final.

He lapped up the occasion and the celebrations afterwards and would relish an even bigger party with Aberdeen. Shinnie saw the reaction to the Dons winning the League Cup in 2014 - when 44,000 punters turned Parkhead red and then double that amount lined Union Street in the Granite City to welcome their heroes.

He said: "Experience is always good. A lot of the players have experienced it and know what to expect during the week.

"They know everything is going to be hyped up and it's a case of trying to keep calm through all that as well and focus on training and what we have to do on Sunday.

"It's one of my greatest days in football winning that cup, something I'll always look back on.

"I took my daughter on the pitch and I'll be able to tell her about it when she's older. It's great for your family, great for the fans and for everyone involved.

"The next day was good. I had to grind through it after the night before! I saw and heard about all the stuff on Union Street after Aberdeen beat Inverness and it made me a bit jealous - I am not going to lie, I wanted that myself.

"I was on the losing end that time and it is not a great feeling. So I would love to experience the big cup parade and everything that comes with it."

Shinnie won't be overawed by Hampden. He loves walking out at the National Stadium and he's expecting something special on Sunday.

Aberdeen and Celtic have split the tickets half and half so the Dons will walk out and see 50 per cent of the ground decked in red.

Shinnie admitted it will be an inspiring sight and he's hoping fan power can drive them to glory.

He said: "It's really enjoyable. You know when you are going to Hampden you are involved in a really big game. It's something special.

"Cup finals are special moments in a player's career and this one will be the same. You drive up to the stadium, down the tunnel and into the dressing rooms.

"It's a great day and you want to look back with good memories. It will be a great sight. The atmosphere at Hampden will be electric. There's no better feeling.

"There are some games with lesser crowds you need to get motivated for but this isn't one of them. When you walk out and see the crowd you know what you are getting into. It's about trying to keep calm.

"I will be hyped up for the match but you need to keep your composure throughout the game."

Aberdeen will need to keep the head against a Celtic side that's been rampaging its way through the domestic scene.

Brendan Rodgers's juggernaut has rolled over sides in Scotland - and has beaten the Dons twice on their way to the top of the league.

But Shinnie insisted he saw enough in their two previous meetings to go in to the final with belief they can spring a shock.

The 4-1 defeat at Parkhead included two goals at the death that put an unrealistic slant on the result. While the 1-0 loss at Pittodrie was tight for long spells.

Derek McInnes has been plotting a plan of action to get at the Hoops and Shinnie is convinced there are chinks in their armour.

He said: "The games against Celtic I have played in have been frustrating on our part a wee bit.

"I felt we played pretty well down there and ended up being down 3-1 which was really frustrating. We deserved more out of the game than that.

"Up here we rode our luck at times. They had a few chances but we grew into the game again and piled the pressure on them as much as we could at the end.

"And we potentially could have nicked something. We definitely know there are gaps there to exploit and weaknesses we can exploit, it's all about doing it on the day."

CAPTION(S):

IN THE PINK Graeme Shinnie lifts the Scottish Cup in May 2015 during his time with Inverness

DRESSED TO IMPRESS Shinnie will be digging out his lucky boxers as Dons bid to get a grip of the League Cup by sinking Celts at Hampden
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 24, 2016
Words:964
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