Former Don Stark believes Dons must overcome Old Firm barrier if they want cup glory


Aberdeen's Billy Stark in the 1986 Scottish Cup final

Aberdeen’s Billy Stark in the 1986 Scottish Cup final

Former Aberdeen midfielder Billy Stark believes Aberdeen can end 30 years of hurt and clinch Scottish Cup glory.

The established order has been restored at the top of Scottish football as Celtic and Rangers look set to dominate again but Scotland national youth team coach Stark says the Dons should relish the challenge of becoming the first team since the cup winning side of 1990 to bring the cup back to the Granite City.

He said: “It does feel as if the natural order has been restored somewhat this season with Celtic and Rangers having pulled clear of the rest of the league to contest the title.

“With the resources they have it is hard to beat them to the prizes over the course of a season but in a one-off game anything is possible.

“It is hard for Aberdeen fans of a certain vintage to accept their side was so prolific in terms of claiming silverware in the 1980s and those days have passed.

“Aberdeen know if they are going to have any chance of winning the Scottish Cup in all likelihood they will have to beat at least one half of the Old Firm on the way to lifting the trophy and that is no easy task.”

The Dons’ only win in 2020 has come in the cup with Sam Cosgrove’s late penalty giving Aberdeen a 1-0 win against Dumbarton at Pittodrie last month. Kilmarnock visit Pittodrie tomorrow as the two sides go head to head for a place in the last eight of the tournament.

Stark said: “It’s remarkable that it has been 30 years since the Dons last won the Scottish Cup. I actually played against them in the 1990 final as I was in the Celtic team and no-one would have believed it possible at that point that the Dons would go 30 years without winning it.

“Aberdeen have as

good a chance of any side outside the big two of winning the cup but right now they just have to take it one game at a time. You can’t look too far.”

Stark was on the losing side to the Dons 30 years ago but his memories of Scottish Cup glory during his Pittodrie career are far more pleasing.

He played for the Dons during Sir Alex Ferguson’s all-conquering team of the 1980s and the memories remain as vibrant today as they were at the time.

Aberdeen’s John Hewitt (left), manager Alex Ferguson and Billy Stark celebrate with the Scottish Cup

He said: “I was quite fortunate. My first Scottish Cup final came in 1984 after I’d been injured since October but managed to get myself back in early April and Fergie put me on the bench for the final.

“John Hewitt missed out which was big news as he was something of a cup specialist and I guess I was the lucky one as I came off the bench and played in extra-time and Mark McGhee scored the goal which won us the cup.

“Then in 1986 I played in the semi-final and scored in a 3-0 win against Hibs but towards the end of the game I pulled my calf and missed the run-in. I managed to make it back for the last game against Clydebank but the manager had made his mind up about the cup final team and I had to settle for a place on the bench.

“I came on and scored the last goal in a 3-0 win against Hearts though. Having also scored in a 3-0 win against Hibs in the League Cup final in October of that season it was a memorable campaign for me. I consider myself very fortunate to be part of that special period.”


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