BY DARREN JOHNSTONE – Capital City Press
Aberdeen legend Neale Cooper insists Derek McInnes would be as big a hero at Pittodrie as Sir Alex Ferguson if he masterminds league glory this season.
No other team outside the Old Firm has been crowned Scottish champions since Ferguson led the Dons to the title in 1985.
Former midfielder Cooper was part of that hugely successful era, which included a Cup Winners’ Cup triumph, and is thrilled to see his old club establish a five point lead over Celtic at the summit after only seven games.
And Cooper is adamant that McInnes would be as popular as Ferguson with the Aberdeen supporters if he leads the side to the top-flight title.
Cooper said: “The people in Aberdeen are really excited. If Derek won the league title this season, honestly, he would be up there alongside Sir Alex.
“I’ve never seen a manager, along with Tony Docherty, so popular since Sir Alex Ferguson.
“There are a lot of similarities with Derek – maybe not throwing things in the changing room – in the way Derek sets things out.
“If things are not going right, he changes it very quickly. Alex Ferguson was like that.
“Without looking too far ahead, I think they have the squad that could do it.
“I think they’re very strong this season. Aberdeen is buzzing at the moment and quite rightly so.
“Can they sustain it? Someone asked me if they can win the league, and I said yes.
“Watching them and being amongst the squad at events, I’ve seen a right togetherness that winning teams do have, we had it in the 80s.
“I’ve noticed it, whether it be a golf day, an evening function – there is such a strong bond between the players.”