Scottish Cup victory will put Aberdeen on the map of Europe – Theo Snelders

Dons’ Theo Snelders and Brian Irvine, holding the trophy in 1990. Photo: Brian Stewart

This was the year he signed a £ 300,000 contract with Twente Enschede, more than current manager Derek McInnes paid in transfer fees during his four years at Pittodrie.

It was certainly money well spent for someone who helped the club double the League Cup and Scottish Cup with wins over Rangers in the first and Celtic in the second, which was settled by the very first penalty shootout in the final.

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Snelders’ penalty save against Anton Rogan secured Brian Irvine sudden death in a spectacular 9-8 win at Hampden Park for a team including other internationals such as Alex McLeish, Jim Bett, Charlie Nicholas , Stewart McKimmie and Hans Gillhaus.

Snelders admits he jumped at the chance to join Aberdeen because of the quality they could attract and their reputation across Europe at the time and was disappointed at how his former club performed. struggled for long stretches since leaving the Rangers in 1996.

The 53-year-old may be back to live and train in the Netherlands, but he still keeps a close eye on Scottish football, is encouraged by the Dons revival under Derek McInnes and sees signs of what’s going on. attracted in the first place, which will only be improved by winning the Scottish Cup.

“It’s far too long for a club the size of Aberdeen not to have won the Scottish Cup. I hope they can fix it this year, ”said Snelders. “It’s great to see them so well again and a lot of the credit goes to Derek McInnes.

“It would also be a great reward for the vision the club has shown and the structure Derek has established since arriving at Pittodrie.

“He wanted to change things and he certainly did because they have already won a cup, are doing well in the league and are playing regularly in Europe again.

“Winning the Scottish Cup would be a reward for the people who stand behind the manager and trust his vision for the club.

“It’s still what they need because when I was 24 I wanted to go abroad and you were flattered that Aberdeen cared about you.”

“It was great to have the opportunity to play for a club that is fighting for top honors and to play in Europe. It was a well-known team in Europe at the time. There was a lot of quality around and it was going to be a great one. good step in your career.

“I think the way it was in the past is coming back. If clubs like Aberdeen are interested in a player, then that is a club that will be of interest to players. The players will think: “If I go, I’m sure I can take my career one step further.”

The fact that Snelders had become an Aberdeen legend was all the more impressive as he replaced Jim Leighton on the side.

Snelders was then voted Scottish Player of the Year in 1989 and was part of the Dutch squad for the 1994 World Cup final.

The only thing missing from his time at Aberdeen was a league winner’s medal, but who knows what would have happened if an injury hadn’t kept him from winning the title on the final day at Ibrox in 1991?

However, it is this Scottish Cup final victory over Celtic that remains the highlight of his career, even though most non-Aberdeen fans forget the important role he played in the game that day. -the.

Usually the very first shootout in the final is called for the winner Irvine and the miss Rogan but Snelders insists: “This is only the case outside Aberdeen. I think in Aberdeen they know what the story is.

“It will be in my head for the rest of my life. That stoppage of Rogan, then winning the cup, was my best moment in football. I always get goosebumps when I think about this stop.

“Today there’s a lot more thinking about how you’re going to prepare for the penalty shootout, but at that time all I had in mind was that he had his left foot and he was shooting his body as a defender rather than a technical player.

“Players usually shoot across their standing leg because if you get off the ball you don’t get a lot of rhythm. “Now they have video footage of the takers to watch and even analyze the opposition goalkeeper to see if he leaves sooner or later. It’s definitely different times.

“I would love for today’s Aberdeen players to have the chance to know what it’s like to win the Scottish Cup. He would live with them forever.

I Theo Snelders was speaking at a media event in William Hill. William Hill is the proud sponsor of the Scottish Cup.

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