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SCF | match report : Live

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SCF | match report

May 28, 2017 1:28 am Author: Aberdeen FC

For the William Hill Scottish Cup Final Derek McInnes named Jayden Stockley and Ryan Jack in the starting XI with Adam Rooney and Anthony O’Connor taking a place on the bench.

In the opening minute Hayes got to the by-line and his dangerous cross almost gave Stockley a chance. The ball came out to Shinnie on the edge of the area but his shot blocked and Considine’s driven cross was also cleared.

At the other end Griffiths made a run in-behind but was caught just offside then Armstrong over ran the ball. A heavy downpour just before kick-off had made the surface very slick.

The opening stages were always going to be crucial and the Dons players were certainly getting stuck in. Shinnie, McLean and Jack were commanding in the middle of the park. The Celtic players also looked quite nervous at times as quite a few passes went astray.

In the 7th minute Sinclair beat Taylor but Jack was well positioned to head the ball behind for the games first corner. Taylor headed the set piece out of the area and McGregor put a shot just over the bar.

A minute later Hayes won Aberdeen their first corner. The Dons worked it brilliantly, a pre-planned move saw the players run to the front post whilst McGinn delivered the ball perfectly for Jonny Hayes coming in unmarked round the back and Jonny fired the ball past Gordon into the net.  Although Tierney was on the line he could not keep it out. Jonny had done so well to get away from his marker Griffiths by making a move on his blindside and hit a sweetly controlled half volley.

A goal of real quality.  

The Dons lead however barely lasted two minutes.

Graeme Shinnie put in a challenge on Roberts as he ran across the pitch. The ball fell kindly for Stuart Armstrong and his low shot skipped off the surface past Lewis into the net. Armstrong was given far too much room to shoot.

In the 15th minutes Hayes twisted and turned past Brown inside the area and put over a really dangerous low cross but after a game of pinball Celtic cleared and broke at pace. At one stage they had a three on two but captain Shinnie made a vital interception. He then gave the ball straight back to Celtic but Tierney’s weak cross was cut out by Lewis.

Celtic then enjoyed a good spell of possession but the Dons defended it well. Considine then produced a nice ball over the Celtic backline for Shinnie to run onto but from a tight angle he fired into the side netting.
The game then started to get a bit feisty with Brown getting away with a late challenge on Stockley.

After 20 minutes Tierney went down after Stockley had caught him accidentally. Whist the left back received lengthy treatment the players were able to get a well-earned breather – it had been an electric start. Five minutes later Rogic came on for Tierney.

Things continued to be quite fiery as play resumed.

Just before the half hour mark Stockley laid the ball off for McGinn who had a shot which was on target but Gordon pushed it away. Jack then had a shot from the edge of the area which was also on target but again Gordon pushed it away. Both shots were at a comfortable height for the keeper.

On the 30 minute mark Hayes wasted a corner by putting it out of play. Hayes then won a free kick wide on the left which Simunovic headed behind for a corner. McGinn swung the ball in and Stockley was able to get a free header on target but it was too close to the keeper. It was a good opportunity for Jayden.

On 35 minutes Stockley and Jack worked the ball down the right. Jack played it to the overlapping Logan who held off Boyata and put over a low cross but frustratingly the ball would not fall to a red shirt. In the 38th minute Celtic forced a corner which McLean headed clear and then Armstrong put a weak shot well wide.

Celtic had a lengthy spell of pressure which ended with a low Griffiths cross being safely held by Lewis. It was like a game of chess when Celtic had the ball in the Aberdeen half – the Dons held a good shape and pressed the ball whenever the opportunity presented itself.

On 43 minutes Bobby Madden awarded Celtic a free kick after Armstrong was fouled by Shinnie. At the time it looked a really soft decision. Thankfully Griffiths put his free kick inches over the bar. There was an additional five minutes played at the end of the half.  In the 45th minute McLean won a corner. The same player headed a McGinn ball in over the bar. It was a difficult one to keep under control but it was encouraging how many times Aberdeen were winning the ball in the air from set plays. Considine then played the ball down the line for Hayes. His cross was met by Stockley at the near post area but Simunovic did just enough to get in a block.

There was still time for one more chance – a major let off for the Dons on the stroke of half time when a Griffiths cross was deflected into the path of Sinclair but the SPFA Player of the Year could only guide the ball over the bar. Taylor had done just enough to put him off.

It would have been harsh on the Dons had he scored as they more than matched Celtic during the first half and probably should have been ahead.

HT Celtic 1 Aberdeen 1

Aberdeen started the second half well. A neat move saw McLean cross for Hayes but it was just out of the reach of the winger. On 47 minutes Lustig fell over after a shoulder to shoulder with McGinn. This gave Celtic a free-kick in a dangerous position but the Dons defence once again stood up well.

On 49 minutes a Celtic break saw Sinclair put a great ball through for Griffiths. Taylor did very well to read the strikers body shape and manage to deflect the shot wide of the goal. On 50 minutes McLean swung in a ball which was only inches away from Stockley and agonisingly just out of the reach of Considine.

It was end to end stuff.

Rogic then chipped a ball forward for the run of Sinclair but Lewis did really well to force him wide before staying big and making the block. Then on 52 minutes Aberdeen wasted a golden opportunity when Hayes brilliantly won the ball off McGregor who was now playing left back. Hayes raced forward, he could have gone himself but instead squared the ball for the unmarked McLean but the pass was just behind him. They really should have scored.

Logan was then penalised for a foul on Lustig on the edge of the area. Griffiths’ free kick was deflected and with Lewis on the ground the ball rolled just past the post. On 58 minutes Roberts pushed a shot just wide.

The Dons were still managing to keep up an incredible tempo.

Just after the hour mark Taylor became the first player to be booked and a minute later the first Aberdeen change, Stockley was replaced by Rooney. On 62 minutes Lewis pushed an Armstrong shot away and then a minute later the big Englishman produced a stunning save to keep out a Roberts effort. The winger cut inside and hit a shot which looked for all the world as it was going in but Joe got his finger tips on it to push the ball onto the post.

On 66 minutes Scott Brown got away with another deliberate foul which incensed the Aberdeen players. Logan from a deep central area knocked it forward. The ball was played across the face of goal by Considine but his header was inches too high for Taylor.

As the rain came down again Celtic were just starting to get on top for the first time as the Aberdeen energy levels dropped.

On 69 Roberts chipped over a great cross which Taylor did really well to head over his own bar. From the corner Boyata wasted a great chance when he also knocked the ball over the Aberdeen bar. 

After 72 minutes a great move involving McGinn and Jack saw the ball played forward to Rooney who had some space to run into but Adam took a touch which allowed a last-ditch tackle to be made on him. The resulting corner was cleared to Shinnie who hit a great shot from 25 yards which Gordon at full stretch tipped round the post.

With fifteen minutes to go Anthony O’Connor came on for Niall McGinn.

A quick throw caught the Dons out a minute later. It resulted in Griffiths being one on one with Reynolds. The striker got a low shot away but Lewis produced a fine save. On 79 minutes the keeper made an equally brilliant save from Sinclair from point blank range.

With ten minutes to go the Aberdeen players looked out on their feet. They had given everything but nothing was now sticking up front and it was wave after wave of Celtic attacks. The defenders were making numerous goal saving blocks but they just could not get hold of the ball and were forced to sit deeper and deeper. After the Glasgow side missed a couple great chances, Sinclair on 88 minutes passed up the best of them, you just wondered if it was going to be our day?

Sadly it was not.

In injury time Rogic beat a couple of very tired defenders before producing a clever finish to beat Lewis.

Even after that the Dons had one final chance in the third minute of added on time when Taylor knocked down a free kick. For a split second it looked like Rooney would get on the end of it but the ball bounced into Gordon’s arms.

The final whistle went a few seconds later. 

A horrible way to end what has been a great season. In the end the long campaign took its toll in those final twenty minutes.
 

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