Jimmy Calderwood believes that securing a Uefa Cup place will turn his Aberdeen players into a team of winners.
Jimmy Calderwood was delighted to beat Rangers
"I know we haven't done well in the cups," the manager said after the 2-0 victory over Rangers.
"But we are third top of the league and have split the big money men in the shape of Rangers, Celtic and Hearts.
"Now we can go away in the summer and look forward to the draw before coming back a more confident team. The players have proven they are winners now."
Aberdeen missed out on European football on goal difference two seasons ago but this time held off a late challenge from Hearts to secure third place in the Scottish Premier League.
"I am very proud and there has been so much hard work done by so many good people," said Calderwood.
Hopefully, with the fact that we've got European football, the manager can attract more players for next season
Aberdeen captain Russell Anderson
"I am not the easiest person to deal with because I set standards for the players and if they don't match them in training or in games then they hear about it.
"But, whatever happens, we have given them a little bit of success.
"I have pitted my wits against a few great managers in my time such as Louis van Gaal, Co Adriaanse, Martin Jol and Walter Smith today, and it is just great to be involved in that type of thing again."
Jackie McNamara will arrive from Wolverhampton Wanderers and Lee Mair from Dundee United in the summer to bolster the Dons defence.
"We are going to be a better team next season with Jackie McNamara and Lee Mair coming in - and hopefully with a few more next week," said Calderwood.
Dons captain Russell Anderson is thought to be in the thoughts of Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate.
But the Scotland defender was looking forward to next season with Calderwood's side.
"We've got to just try to improve again," he said.
"It's going to be difficult. Hopefully, with the fact that we've got European football, the manager can attract more players for next season."
Anderson was delighted to have held off Hearts.
"It means an awful lot. I'm no different to the rest of the players - we were all desperate to do it," he said.
"Full credit to Hearts, who pushed us the whole way, but we had a good performance and it was a nice way to cap off the season."