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Scottish Cup Match Preview | Aberdeen v Dumbarton
Competition: William Hill Scottish Cup
Match: Aberdeen v Dumbarton
Kick Off: 3.00pm
TV Coverage: RedTV International
The manager sat down with the media yesterday lunchtime at Cormack Park to preview The Dons return to action against Dumbarton.
“I have spoken long and hard about the benefits of going away on a winter camp to get the boys fired back up again, taking them away from all their responsibilities and just focusing on themselves and their own fitness again.
“We got plenty of sessions in which was really important to us. It was an opportunity to reset again.
“The training conditions were actually probably better for some of the players as it wasn’t so hot.
“We have come through the game and all of that training with only one little knock in Jon Gallagher who trained today.
“Thankfully we have been able to put a significant amount of work into the players and they have come through it.
“We are still carrying four injuries and Lewis is suspended for Saturday, so we still don’t have our troubles to seek.
“I was pleased with a lot of aspects of the game on Monday.
“What we lacked in the game and what you normally get in these type of games was a lack of edge and a competitiveness.
“We have had a few games out there where a couple of tackles have gone in early on and the game has threatened to boil over. I thought we passed the ball well, we just lacked that cutting edge and it is something that we have spoken about before.
“We hope it is not a pattern, we have been trying to address that this month. There was a lot about the game that I was pleased with. It was an extension of a training match.
“I thought the way that the players set about the game was exactly how we wanted it.
“We wanted them to get a positive result, we didn’t get it but a lot of the possession, the organisation of the team, the pressing of the team was very good.
“Once you get to the hour mark and you start making changes the game starts to run away from you.
“All in all, it was a positive week’s work and we look forward to get going again on Saturday.
“For me it was a pre contract to work with him in the summer.
“I fully respect St Johnstone’s wishes if they want to hold onto Matty and I am always a bit reluctant to speak about an others teams player.
“It is done, we have kept St Johnstone up to speed all the way along and we look forward to working with him.
“I am delighted that we have got him.
“We weren’t the only club in town trying to get him and he had other options.
“Having spoken to Matty, I felt the conversation was two way about how keen he was to come here and how keen I was to get him here.
“Thankfully his word was strong and so was ours and we have got him with us and we look forward to picking that up again in the summer.
“We will pick out our strongest team and give Jim Duffy and Dumbarton total respect.
“There will be shocks in the cup, but we just need to make sure that its not at Pittodrie.
“We don’t pick a team about trying to get players up to speed or with the next game in mind. It is about trying to win the game.
“We expect a tough challenge.
“We have not had any shocks in my time here but the Stenhousemuir game last year was a disappointing result. We dominated the game for long spells but one moment of a lack of concentration meant that we put the game at risk, and we had to go to a replay.
“We go into the game as strong as we possibly can be with the players that are available for us and deliver a big performance against what will be a tough opponent, a well organised opponent. Their players will want to show that they want to do well in this company. They will be doing all they can to provide a shock.
“I have come up against Jim’s teams often enough in the past. They are always very rigid, very hard working, very organised. He manages his teams brilliantly, he coaches them from the side, and you can see when you play against Jim’s teams, each player knows their jobs.
“The onus is on us being the home team, being the Premiership team and being Aberdeen to overcome that challenge and set about the game in a positive manner.
“Jon Gallagher trained today, there was no reaction to his injury so he will come back into the squad.
“Lewis Ferguson is suspended, Leigh, Bryson, Vyner and Wright are all out.
“Everybody else will be good to go.
“We had a few of the younger lads who came out to Dubai who might be a part of the squad.
“Hopefully we can start 2020 with a positive performance and result.
Return of The Home End
“It is a great initiative and it has been well received.
“There is an appetite there from the fans and it has been encouraged by the club.
“It’s a great initiative and hopefully it is something we can see more of.”
The Last Time Out
The two sides met at Pittodrie in the quarter finals of the Scottish Cup back in 2014 with an Adam Rooney header in the second half sending The Dons through to the semi-finals.
You can read more about the history between The Dons and The Sons here.
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Match Page - Text Commentary
Sam Steps Up To Send Dons Through In The Cup
Echoes of Stenhousemuir in the Scottish Cup last season as the Dons struggled to break down a determined Dumbarton rear-guard despite almost complete territorial control, before Sam Cosgrove stepped up to score his 21st goal of the season to win the tie.
Aberdeen, looking to end a 30 year wait for the Scottish Cup, came into the game off the back of their midwinter training camp in Dubai. Derek McInnes made five changes to the side that drew at Hearts before the break, giving an immediate debut to new signing Dylan McGeouch, with Sam Cosgrove, Andrew Considine, Connor McLennan and Niall McGinn all back in the starting XI. Dean Campbell, Curtis Main and Jon Gallagher all moved to the bench, while Zak Vyner missed out from the Hearts game through injury and Lewis Ferguson through suspension.
Dumbarton have had a winter break of their own of sorts, with last weekend’s game against Clyde being postponed. Having last played on January 4th in a 3-0 defeat at second placed Falkirk, Jim Duffy made four changes to that side, bringing in Lewis Crawford, Joe McKee, Callum Wilson and PJ Crossan in place of Reghan Tumilty, Stewart Carswell, Conor Scullion and Ryan Tierney, the latter two dropping to their four man bench.
After a slow opening to the game, the first moment to raise the temperature came in the 13th minute when Cosgrove went down under a challenge in the penalty area right in front of the “Red Shed”, but the referee waved away his claims for a spot kick.
Two minutes later, a lovely disguised pass from McGeouch almost slotted McLennan in, then almost immediately, the new signing drove in a shot that Brennan handled well at his near post.
The Dons were getting into things now and in the 18th minute, McGinn bent a free kick into the box, Cosgrove was able to get a flick header on it that diverted the ball just round the far post with Brennan scrambling. McGinn’s left-wing corner two minutes later almost broke the deadlock, Ash Taylor flinging himself at the ball to bullet a header just over the bar from a dozen yards out.
By now, the game was being played almost exclusively in the Dumbarton half, the visitors getting ten yellow and black shirts behind the ball whenever possible. On 27 minutes, good persistence from McLennan allowed him to get a cross in from the right. Cosgrove’s initial shot was blocked but it dropped for Bruce Anderson who shinned his shot over the bar from around the penalty spot. Another corner followed a minute later, Considine well up this time but again, his header was over the bar.
Lovely play between Considine, Funso Ojo and McGinn gave the Northern Irishman a sight of goal, but from out wide on the left, his right footed attempt to bend the ball round Brennan also saw the ball bend wide of the far post.
For all the territorial advantage though, it was a ring rusty looking first half from the Dons. Anderson almost broke the deadlock in the final minute of the half, onto a loose ball, but his shot took a deflection and bobbled harmlessly wide. From the corner, Considine was up again at the back post but Brennan pouched his header easily enough to leave the game deadlocked at the break.
HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 0 DUMBARTON 0
The Dons made a sharp start to the second half, McLennan immediately playing in an early cross, McGinn darting in at the back post but putting the ball back across goal and wide of the target. Moments later, a McGinn corner found Cosgrove on the edge of the box, but he shot into the ground and the ball bounced up nicely for Brennan to save.
Some 51 minutes in and McGinn got a free kick in exactly the same spot as he’d scored against Hearts in the previous game, but this time, he put his shot over the bar. McGinn was the creator a minute later, spearing a cross into the near post, Cosgrove in on it but putting his header wide of goal under pressure from Neill.
McGinn was starting to cause havoc now with his quick feet, winning another corner in the 54th minute and delivering it onto the head of Scott McKenna but once again, his effort was always rising over the bar from six yards out.
Corner number seven was almost decisive in the 57th minute, Taylor up to it at the back post but the massed Dumbarton ranks were able to scramble the ball clear again. The Dons should have been in front in the 63rd minute, McGinn clipping the ball into the box from the left, Anderson coming onto it seven yards out but lifting it over the bar from between the posts.
Ryan Hedges became Aberdeen’s first change in the 67th minute, replacing McLennan. Still the Dons couldn’t break through the yellow and black wall, Ojo smashing one at goal from 25 yards or more in the 71st minute, Brennan saving well, Anderson poking the rebound wide under pressure from the goalkeeper.
Anderson was denied again a minute later, down at his near post to block his shot from Cosgrove’s knock down from Ojo’s cross. Zata then came on for Wilson in the 74th minute in Dumbarton’s first swap. Two minutes later, the Dons came close again, Cosgrove almost on the end of a low Considine cross through the six-yard box, before Dean Campbell took to the field in place of the impressive debutant McGeouch.
With ten minutes to go, McGinn almost found the net, a 25-yard curler from the edge of the box beating Brenan but just going wide of the far post as Aberdeen continued to knock on the Dumbarton door. A minute later, a good crossfield ball from Anderson found Hedges who cut inside, onto his left foot, but could only fire into the side netting.
The Aberdeen pressure finally bore fruit, Cosgrove hacked down in the box by Quitongo in the 85th minute to give the Dons a penalty, Dumbarton taking an age in protesting the obvious award, Brennan booked for his protests. Sam wasn’t affected, sending Brennan the wrong way and giving Aberdeen a 1-0 lead.
The visitors brought on Tierney for Langan in the 88th minute, then Anderson could have settled the game, a free header from a McGinn corner six yards out, but his header was deflected over the bar from six yards out. Anderson, who picked up a knock as he won the header, was then replaced by Gallagher, McGinn putting in a corner and Considine, again, going over the bar with is header. Crossan then made way for Scullion.
The visitors won themselves a corner three minutes into injury time, Cosgrove winning the crucial header as the Dons were able to clear their lines and see themselves through to round five of the competition, finally seeing off their doughty Dumbarton opponents. All credit to the League One side for battling away to the last and producing such a resilient rear-guard action.