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Aberdeen Sean Graham

Growing up as a kid, the Scottish Cup final was always the showpiece occasion at the end of the season, Saturday at three o'clock was the kick -off but not this year!

This year's final has been moved to Sunday at three, to allow the Champions League final between Bayern and Dortmund, pride of place.
I don't have any problem with the Champions League final standing alone on the Saturday but as with the FA Cup in England between Manchester City and Wigan which was moved to a 5.15 kick-off.
Football, along with everything else has changed over the years but I used to love Cup Final day on both sides of the border, I still do.
I could hardly sleep before Cup Final day, no doubt I will be the same on Saturday night before Celtic and Hibernian grace the Hampden turf on Sunday.
Cup Final day was always made up of both BBC and STV showing the game at the same time, the big build up, Cup Final SuperScot and various programmes like that before the countdown to the big game it'self .
Now it is BBC and Sky Sports who will cover the big game and the work that goes into putting the show live on TV for millions of fans, takes a lot of man and woman power and has to be seen to be believed and appreciated.
I have been lucky over the years, either as a fan or in my working capacity to have seen or been at a few Cup Finals over the years.
This Sunday will be my 10th Cup Final going as a fan not working but I remember my first one as if it was yesterday and it was the game which started the amazing journey for Aberdeen Football club, the 1981-82 Scottish Cup final v Rangers.
I remember when I found out that I was lucky enough to get my tickets for my first Cup Final, how delighted I was.
It was the days when you used to be able to get your tickets in Lumley's (Greaves now) and my Mum managed to get two tickets for me and my Uncle Tommy, £6.50 for a Cup Final ticket !
The day and the game could not come round quick enough for me, I just wanted to be at Hampden and sample the stuff I dreamed of as a kid, now I was going to be there to see Aberdeen against Rangers.
In the league match the week previously, Aberdeen had beaten Rangers 4-0 at Pittodrie with a hat-trick from John Hewitt and an og from Colin Jackson, but this was a Cup Final and I knew that things would be different.
As I got my programme and we took our seats in the old North Stand facing the Main Stand, our view was fantastic as we looked down on the pitch, I actually had to draw my breath as it looked fantastic seeing the Red and White of the Aberdeen fans and the Red, White and Blue of the Rangers fans all around the ground.
I didn't have long to wait for the first goal in the game as Rangers young striker John MacDonald opened the scoring with a great diving header, this was not the start I was expecting and I may have had a tear in my eye.
But this Cup Final had only started, the Dons would not let this set-back spoil their Cup Final plans, it was just a set-back right?
Indeed it was ! The Dons managed to win a corner which John Hewitt swung in, a Neil Simpson shot was blocked but there was Alex McLeish at the edge of the box to curl a superb goal to level the scores, surely one of the best seen in a Scottish Cup final and I was there to see it...with another tear in my eye!
The game was now anyone's and although both sides had chances, no one could make themselves a hero in 90 minutes, so another 30 minutes was needed and I wasn't going to complain !
Going into extra-time, Aberdeen did look the more hungrier and more fitter and boy did it show.
Goals from Mark McGhee, Gordon Strachan and Neale Cooper finished Rangers off in extra-time and sent the Dons fans home happy but not before they watched
the men in Red show off the Scottish Cup to the thousands of fans who had come from the North and all over to see this fantastic occasion.
I just wanted to stand and take it all in as it was my first Cup Final, it was a day I will never forget .
The following year I was not so lucky as the car broke down on the road to another Aberdeen v Rangers Scottish Cup final, as the Dons again won the Cup in extra-time, this time an Eric Black goal was enough to see off Rangers.
I have many memories of this fantastic competition and I will share them on the Sporting Network Site, hope you enjoy them and for anyone going to their first Cup Final on Sunday, enjoy it and take in every minute of it as you never know when your next one will be.

Sean Graham

Follow on Twitter @FeaturesSean


"I am just a guy who has over 40 years of memories of watching various clubs and matches since my Dad took me round the grounds in Glasgow each week before we went to meet my Mum after work and we always went to the Berni Inn where I had scampi and chips !
From watching Aberdeen, Celtic, Rangers, Partick Thistle, Maryhill juniors and Scotland as well as watching Everton and Manchester United, I have plenty of memories to share for fans to hopefully enjoy and remember."

 

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