Steven Gerrard has told his Rangers players they can start a new chapter in the Ibrox history books by crossing Aberdeen’s name off this year’s list of William Hill Scottish Cup contenders.
Gers travel north to Pittodrie on Sunday hoping to book a semi-final slot.
The Dons denied Gerrard the chance lead out his side for what would have been his first final as boss when they dumped the Light Blues out at the last-four stage of the Betfred Cup.
But the Ibrox manager wants his men to seize the opportunity available to them this weekend as Rangers look to record a first major trophy triumph since 2011.
He said: “Getting back to Hampden has got to be the carrot for the players.
“Sunday is a real opportunity for them to show they want to be winners at this football club.
“You don’t want to be remembered just for being a good player, you want to be remembered as a winner and someone who helped contribute in taking this club to finals.
“To go up to Pittodrie and play in that hostile environment against a good Aberdeen team has got to be exciting for a player.”
Rangers will head up the A90 in buoyant mood after blasting 14 goals in their last three games – with none conceded.
It’s a different picture for Derek McInnes’ team, however, after the Reds’ stuttering home form saw them follow up a frustrating 2-2 draw with Ladbrokes Premiership basement boys St Mirren with a nightmare 2-0 loss to strugglers Hamilton.
But Gerrard knows his side will not have it easy against a team who have already beaten his side twice this season.
Asked if he was surprised by Aberdeen’s recent dip, the former Liverpool skipper said: “Yes because the last two fixtures against St Mirren and Hamilton, Aberdeen are big favourites in those games.
“You’d expect them to take maximum points but it just goes to show that every game is competitive in the SPL.
“But I don’t think it will have any bearing on Sunday’s match. It’s a different competition and I’m sure Aberdeen want to go all the way just like we do.
“We expect the best Aberdeen and we know Derek will certainly be getting into them to make sure he gets the best out of his players.
“We are certainly in good form at the moment and playing some really good stuff.
“There have been moments over the last three performances where we have been really pleasing on the eye.
“But the pleasing thing for me is we are doing the basics well and keeping clean sheets – and that’s what we need to take into the Aberdeen game.
“We can’t just think it will be straightforward. This will be a different type of game and the players will have to adapt.”
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