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Scottish Cup Semi – Final Match Preview
Competition: William Hill Scottish Cup Semi-Final
Match: Celtic v Aberdeen
Venue: Hampden Park
Kick Off: 14:30
TV Coverage: For full details on how to watch Sunday’s match, please click here.
The manager sat down with the media via Zoom to preview Sunday’s match at Hampden.
“Our cup form has been good over the years. It shows the motivation of the team. We have had some good wins, some good wins over Celtic and Rangers in cup games, but cup football is all about winning trophies and we have only won one.
“That is something we want to change.
“I like the motivation and resilience of this team at the moment.
“We have players in good form.
“We do not worry too much about our cup record against Celtic, we just focus on the next game and the our form and the importance of the game. Despite previous games against Celtic, this is now the most important one.
“We feel we are a team who have started the season well. There is enough encouragement there to suggest we can have a good campaign and Sunday brings us a chance to showcase that.
“Obviously it is last years competition. I think we have earned the right to be here. We have had some tough games to get here. We beat Dumbarton when we were a long way from our best. We have then beaten a couple of good Premiership teams away from home to get here. We need two more big performances.
“Now that we are here it is important we make the most of it.
“Although I feel we were improving when the season was curtailed, there is no doubt we are in a better place in terms of squad, in terms of performance, going into this game.
“I have heard a lot of people say that this is our strongest squad. I think when you maybe look at the bench and look at the players who are not available to us, it is an easy thing to suggest. And I am happy with the strength of the squad and we have overcome challenges already this season. We have overcome injuries and still managed to get results on the pitch. But the true answer for that will only be at the end of the season. We have had previous squads who have done well for us, with good individuals within that, and whilst we are encouraged by the strength in depth within this squad and the way we have started, you can only really access things at the end of the campaign. That is the time to reflect on how good this squad is.
“I cannot wait for the game. We look forward to the opportunity on Sunday.
“It can work both ways, (not having a midweek match) but I am glad we have a full week to work towards the game because they had the opportunity for a practice match whilst we also had the chance to give the injured players a bit of time to recover.
“I would always prefer a crowd and an atmosphere. A semi-final is deserving of that. That sanitised atmosphere is not ideal. We would much rather have a full Hampden because that is what I think the game deserves. But it is not there, we just go into the game, looking forward to taking part in it and setting about the task of getting the club into a final.
“We have a lot of benefits going on at the minute, with the strength of the squad, the performance of certain players, picking up relatively consistent results which is giving everyone some encouragement but we know we are up against a tough opponent on Sunday.”
“We are ready for it. We are bursting to get going. We would play the game tomorrow if we could. But we have to channel that energy into putting a good performance in on Sunday. We know that if we play well, if we reach our levels then we are in with a right chance. And that pleases me. And the supporters should feel that as well.”
Aberdeen’s Record in Scottish Cup Semi-Final’s
Sunday will be Aberdeen’s 51st Scottish Cup semi-final tie (including all replays). The overall record reads:
Won 16, Drawn 12, Lost 22, Scored 60, Conceded 65.
The Biggest Win: 6-0 v Rangers 10th April 1954.
Aberdeen’s complete record in the Scottish Cup:
Played 417, Won 230, Drawn 90, Lost 97, Scored 824, conceded 429.
16/04/83 | Scottish Cup Semi-Final | Aberdeen 1-0 Celtic | Hampden Park | 51,152
Aberdeen were battling on three fronts in ’83 and, after defeating Waterschei in the semi-final of the European Cup Winners’ Cup, the Dons’ hectic schedule included a Scottish Cup semi-final against Celtic at Hampden in April. In a bruising encounter, Aberdeen prevailed in a 1-0 win. There were no signs of a goal at either end until, on 65 minutes, substitute Peter Weir raced in to head home Eric Black’s brilliant cross at the back post. It was a bruising encounter off the field as well that afternoon in the rain. Hampden was being rebuilt which cut the capacity, meaning the crowd of 51,152 was almost a full house. At that time, trips to the national stadium were fairly hostile for the Red Army and this was one of the worst.
Dons Line Up: Leighton, Kennedy, Rougvie, Cooper (Weir), McLeish, Miller, Strachan, Simpson, McGhee, Bell, Black (Watson)
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Report | Dons lose out at Hampden
ABERDEEN 0 CELTIC 2
Scottish Cup semi-final
Sunday 1st November 2020
Ref – Don Robertson
An impressive five minute spell of football in the first half proved too much for the Dons to handle and sent Celtic off into the Scottish Cup final at their expense once again.
Aberdeen had their chances but failed to take any of them, despite dominating possession for good spells.
Following last weekend’s 3-3 draw with Celtic at Pittodrie, Derek McInnes made three changes for the Hampden Park tie. Jonny Hayes and Dylan McGeouch missed out with injury while Ryan Edmondson started from the bench. Replacing them were Sam Cosgrove, making his first start of the season, fit again Matty Kennedy and Scott Wright. Mikey Devlin was included in the matchday squad for the first time this season and Curtis Main was among the subs too.
Having drawn 2-2 in Lille in the Europa League on Thursday night, Neil Lennon also made three changes, Nir Bitton, Tom Rogic and Odsonne Edouard returning, Kristoffer Ajer ruled out with injury, Albian Ajeti and Olivier Ntcham dropping to the bench.
Aberdeen made a confident start in the pouring rain in Glasgow, Kennedy darting past Frimpong down the left, Cosgrove up to it at the back post but glancing his header wide of goal within 45 seconds of the kick-off. The two repeated the move in the fifth minute, Cosgrove stretching at the back post, Bitton doing well to block the ball behind as Celtic were getting hemmed in by a high octane Aberdeen start.
Three minutes later though, neat passing football from Celtic got Edouard in on goal, Joe Lewis down brilliantly to save then, while prone on the ground, he made an even better save from the follow up to keep the scores level. Moments later, Frimpong curled an inviting ball through the six yard box but thankfully, there were no takers for Celtic.
Aberdeen opened Celtic up again in the 14th minute, a lovely ball with the outside of the boot from Wright opening up the defence for Hedges but he cut inside when he might have been better to shoot first time and in the end, his effort was blocked wide. From Kennedy’s corner, Ash Taylor got a glancing header at the near post, the ball flashing through the six yard box and just wide of goal.
But in the 18th minute, it was the rare quality of Ryan Christie that grabbed the opening goal. Fully 25 yards out and on the right edge of the box, he wrapped his left foot round the ball and curled it into the far top corner, Lewis hurling himself after it in vain. The Dons will rue the fact that Christie had a bit too much space but for all that, it was a magnificent finish.
Aberdeen were two down five minute later, more intricate passing play from the cup holders gradually working space, Rogic standing up a brilliant ball to the back post, impossible to defend, Elyounoussi coming in to volley the ball into the roof of the net. The only down side during a good spell for Celtic came when Laxalt went in the book in the 28th minute for a late challenge on Lewis Ferguson.
Hedges was down for treatment in the 31st minute after heading the back of Laxalt’s head but fortunately he was able to continue. Celtic skipper Brown got away with one at a 34th minute corner, barging Cosgrove to the floor just a fraction of a second before Kennedy put the ball in play. A moment later and surely that would have been a penalty.
The Dons were gradually regaining their composure and getting back into the game, but half-time arrived with Celtic still two goals to the good and Aberdeen left with plenty to do.
HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 0 CELTIC 2
The Dons were out early for the second half, no substitutions made, but now employing a back four. Celtic were first to threaten, slick passing again getting Elyounoussi into a shooting position, McCrorie swooping down upon him with a crucial block.
Wright did well to set Aberdeen away in the 49th minute after dispossessing Bitton. He got to the by-line to pull it back to Cosgrove but his shot wasn’t strong enough to trouble Bain, who made a straightforward save. Ferguson went into the book for a challenge on Edouard on the halfway line a minute later.
Hedges had a sight of goal from 25 yards out on the hour, his shot from a central position dragged wide. Aberdeen then made their first changes with Greg Leigh and Connor McLennan on the pitch for Taylor and Cosgrove in the 64th minute.
The Dons were pushing Celtic now, dominating possession and looking much the livelier of the two teams as we entered the final quarter of the game, but the crucial goal to get back into the game was proving elusive. To try to inject some life into their side of things, Griffiths, Ajeti and Elhamed all joined the fray for Celtic in place of Edouard, Elyounoussi and Christie in the 73rd minute.
In the aftermath of that, Ferguson put a shot over the bar from the edge of the box after good work from Wright and Hedges, then Kennedy was given a chance by Watkins, Frimpong across well to block on the edge of the six yard box.
Watkins soon needed treatment after Brown came flying across him like an outtake from a Bruce Lee movie, but surprisingly, there was no action from the referee, not even a free-kick. He couldn’t continue, helped from the field by the physios, Main stepping up to replace him with 12 minutes left.
There was a promising moment with a free-kick out on the left in the 83rd minute, Hedges finding Hoban but his header looped over the bar, Bain still not having had a real save to make. Celtic then brought on Ntcham in place of Rogic to try to see out the game, Kennedy making way for McGinn.
For the Dons, a late flurry saw Ferguson stab a shot over the bar from distance, summing up a frustrating afternoon where they couldn’t find the cutting edge they needed to trouble Celtic.
ABERDEEN: Lewis, Hoban, Taylor (Leigh 64), Considine, Hedges, McCrorie, Ferguson, Kennedy (McGinn 86), Wright, Watkins (Main 79), Cosgrove (McLennan 64).
Subs not used: Woods, Logan, Ojo, Devlin, Edmondson.
CELTIC: Bain, Frimpong, Duffy, Bitton, Laxalt, McGregor, Brown, Rogic (Ntcham 84), Christie (Elhamed 73), Elyounoussi (Ajeti 73), Edouard (Griffiths 73).
Subs not used: Barkas, Taylor, Klimala, Soro, Turnbull.
GOALS: Christie (18), Elyounoussi (23).