SATURDAY’S goalless draw against Aberdeen left many Celtic supporters with mixed feelings ahead of last night’s Scottish Cup Quarter Final replay at Ibrox. Of course, our hearts all wanted Aberdeen to win and leave Steve Davis & Co to play out their league campaign still needing snookers. However there was a nagging worry in our heads that Aberdeen would provide a much stiffer test to Celtic at Hampden in the semi-final.
Derek McInnes has finally sussed how to play in Glasgow, whether it’s at Hampden, Celtic Park or Ibrox. Indeed Aberdeen have the best away record in Scotland this season and so last night’s result should have surprised no-one.
Aberdeen’s three visits to Celtic Park in the last year have seen then win 1-0, lose 1-0 and draw 0-0.
They lost the Betfred Cup Final to Celtic in December after beating Steven Gerrard’s side in the semi-final and they have won on both of their last two trips to Govan, including last night.
The way they set up on Saturday at Celtic Park is exactly the same way that McInnes will play in against Celtic in the Scottish Cup semi-final next month and that will probably be harder for Celtic to overcome than if Gerrard’s side won last night and came to the National stadium thinking they could attack Celtic and win.
Aberdeen could have grabbed a late goal on Saturday, they had one or two chances near the end, and that was McInnes’ gameplay all along. It was also a perfect dress rehearsal for the game last night.
In the other quarter-final last night former Celt Scott McDonald opened the scoring for Partick Thistle at Tynecastle but Hearts fought back to lead 2-1 in the closing stages when, having awarded two penalties to the home side on the night (one a complete joke), he denied Thistle a stonewaller in the closing stages.
Former Celt Gary Caldwell was right to be angry about Madden’s decision making afterwards.
But it is Hearts who will play Inverness Caley in the other semi-final (possibly not at Hampden) and neither of those two should give us too much to be concerned about IF we can beat Aberdeen in our semi-final.
After last night’s comfortable 2-0 win at Ibrox, the Aberdeen boss turned his attention to Celtic.
“We’ve got closer to Celtic in the big games,” he said to the media.
“We’re used to Hampden now. We’ve had a couple of real disappointments there, but we’ve had some good performances in semi-finals.
“The fact we’re going back there for the third time this season – I feel my players are used to the surroundings, regardless of the opponent.
“Celtic will be firm favourites, but I’m just glad we’ve got the opportunity to get the club into another Final.”