This hard-fought win could be cat­a­lyst for new hope this sea­son

Evening Express (City Final) - - Scoreboard - Miller Wil­lie

ABERDEEN’S dra­matic late win over Rangers at Hampden was a bril­liant, hard­fought re­sult.

Derek Mcinnes’ team’s per­for­mance, much like Steven Ger­rard’s Rangers, didn’t hit the heights ei­ther would have liked or maybe even ex­pected. The Gers had a lot of the ball at Hampden, dom­i­nat­ing pos­ses­sion and putting the Reds un­der good, pro­longed spells of pres­sure – how­ever, they did this with­out cre­at­ing too many clear-cut chances. At the back, I thought the Dons’ de­fend­ing could have been im­proved at times and they rode their luck in spells. There were mo­ments in the first-half where Rangers’ leggy striker Umar Sadiq was able to get in be­hind Scott Mckenna and Mikey Devlin and into good po­si­tions, al­though he and his team-mates never re­ally looked like scor­ing. Rangers have shown in their make-up this sea­son they need more qual­ity with re­gards their fi­nal ball and I don’t think Joe Lewis would have been un­duly wor­ried at any point. Daniel Can­deias flew down the wing sev­eral times, but pro­duced noth­ing of note at the end of it. All this be­ing said, the most im­por­tant thing in any semi-fi­nal, not least against one of Glas­gow’s big two, is to find a way to progress. Aberdeen achieved this and showed courage, even af­ter the worrying sight of Andrew Con­si­dine be­ing stretchered off with a sus­pected neck in­jury – it could have served as a psy­cho­log­i­cal ham­mer blow, but the Dons held it to­gether. Lewis Fer­gu­son’s goal, from a pin-point Niall Mcginn cor­ner, was against the run of play – the only Reds chance of the sec­ond half. But they took it when it came. It sparked wild scenes of cel­e­bra­tion among the out­num­bered Reds sup­port, who all game pushed their team on, even when they were strug­gling to get the ball back. But once Mcinnes’ team took the lead, it knocked the stuff­ing out of the Ibrox side. It was a pro­fes­sional, con­fi­dent Aberdeen, en­joy­ing their best spell of the match once they went 1-0 up. I never thought in the last 10-15 min­utes they wouldn’t see it through. An­other fi­nal lies in wait now, their first since the twin fi­nal losses to the Hoops in 2016/17, sched­uled for De­cem­ber 2. This will be an­other hard game, against

an­other, bet­ter Glas­gow team – this time it’s the cham­pi­ons, who dis­man­tled early league lead­ers Hearts at Mur­ray­field. Mcinnes will hope the win over Rangers serves as a con­fi­dence-build­ing cat­a­lyst for the rest of the cam­paign, start­ing with Hamil­ton at Pit­to­drie on Wed­nes­day, but con­tin­u­ing through to the Celtic match at Hampden. They won’t be kid­ding them­selves – lift­ing the Bet­fred Cup and stop­ping the first leg of the tre­ble-tre­ble is a mas­sive ask. Aberdeen are sev­enth in the Premier­ship ta­ble af­ter nine games, but this could all change now they’ve got such a huge win un­der their belt. They’ve had a slow start to the cam­paign while teams like Hearts, Liv­ingston and Hibs have been fly­ing, with ques­tion marks re­main­ing about who is the main goalscorer in the at­tack­ing part of the pitch. Dig­ging in, stick­ing to the game plan and tak­ing the chance – in my ca­reer I al­ways found this to be the best way to start find­ing your way out of a dif­fi­cult spell and to si­lence the crit­ics.

Cel­e­bra­tion time for Aberdeen’s Shay Lo­gan and, left, Graeme Shin­nie af­ter the bat­tling vic­tory in Glas­gow

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.