William Hill Scottish Cup Semi-Final 2019/20
Sunday, 1 November 2020, kick-off 2.30pm
Celtic: Ryan Christie (17), Mohamed Elyounoussi (24)
Wiliam Hill Scottish Cup holders Celtic ensured they would return to Hampden for their fourth consecutive final as they secured a second consecutive victory at this stage over Aberdeen.
The win not only marks Celtic’s 35th consecutive win in domestic cup competitions, but also leaves them one win away from an unprecedented fourth consecutive treble.
Goals from Ryan Christie and Mohamed Elyounoussi in the first half were enough to secure victory for Celtic but they were made to work hard for it, particularly in the second half, as a determined Aberdeen side pushed to get back into contention.
While Aberdeen arguably enjoyed the better of the second half without managing to break down the Celtic rear guard, it is Celtic who will hope to begin their festive season with a Cup Final victory when they play Hearts on 20 December.
As it happened
With fans unable to attend due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the second match in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final weekend began cagily, neither team fashioning any clear cut chances in the opening minutes.
The first real opportunity of the tie came for Celtic, Christie playing a cute first-time pass to put Edouard through the heart of the Aberdeen defence. His deft first touch afforded him the opportunity to get a shot away, but Lewis was the equal of it having rushed from his line to close the space. The rebound fell back to Edouard but his snapshot was gratefully clutched by Lewis on the turf.
With Celtic starting to exert their dominance after a seesaw opening 15 minutes, they soon got the opening goal they craved, courtesy of a glorious 25 yard curling effort from Ryan Christie. The goal meant the Scotland international has now scored in consecutive games at Hampden, after netting against Israel for Scotland in September.
Some neat interplay on the right wing with Tom Rogic bought Christie some space to cut inside onto his left foot. His sweetly-struck effort evaded the arms of the outstretched Lewis and nestled in the side netting to give Celtic the lead on 18 minutes.
Christie had a golden opportunity to double his goal tally moments later, a delightful cross from the left wing soaring over the Aberdeen defence to Christie, unmarked at the far post. His diving header was poorly timed though, and he watched in anguish as it bounced into the turf and behind to safety.
Celtic didn’t have to wait long to double their lead, with Elyounoussi slamming in their second on 24 minutes with a leaping volley high into the netting. Edouard played Rogic in down the left side of the box, his first time cross looping over the head of the stranded Lewis towards the back post. Its perfect placement left Elyounoussi with a finish only a yard from goal, which he dispatched with relish despite the close attention of Aberdeen centre half Considine.
With Celtic threatening to dominate proceedings, Aberdeen changed their system, moving Ross McCrorie to right back and switching to a back four. The change helped stem the waves of pressure from Celtic, with neither side really fashioning a clear cut chance for the remainder of the half.
While the second half began with Celtic in the ascendancy, some slack play from Bitton almost allowed Aberdeen to pull one back within a few minutes of the restart.
Bitton appeared to have the situation under control when he took ownership of a long ball down the Aberdeen left flank, but a combination of hustling from Aberdeen’s Wright and a poor back pass allowed Wright to regain possession and drive into the box. His cutback found Cosgrove in some space, but his first time left footed effort was sliced straight at Bain between the Celtic sticks.
With both sides probing for the vital next goal, Aberdeen looked to shake things up with two changes on the 63rd minute, Leigh and McLennan replacing Cosgrove and Taylor, with Considine moving inside to centre half from the left back position he had been occupying.
The change almost paid dividends for Aberdeen, Leigh involved in a sustained period of pressure that saw a number of snap shots from Aberdeen, causing the ball to ricochet in the Celtic box without ever troubling Bain between the net before it was cleared to safety.
Rogic was next to try his luck from distance for Celtic after some clever ball juggling from Edouard bought space to tee up the Australian 20 yards from goal. His driven effort was partially blocked, landing safely in the arms of the keeper.
With Aberdeen enjoying the better of proceedings, Celtic manager Neil Lennon sought to freshen things up for his side, making a triple substitution on the 73rd minute. Griffiths, Ajeti and Elhamed replaced Edouard, Elyounoussi and Christie with Celtic changing their shape to a three at the back in the process.
Aberdeen pushed hard to get themselves back into the match in the closing stages but were unable to fashion the clear cut chance they needed to make it a nervy final few minutes for Celtic.
With time ticking away, Celtic were content to run the ball into the corner as they saw out a victory that leaves them on the verge of yet another William Hill Scottish Cup trophy.
Celtic will now return to Hampden to play yesterday’s winners Heart of Midlothian in a festive final on Sunday, 20 December.
The tie will be a repeat of last season’s final, which saw Celtic clinch their third consecutive Scottish Cup trophy after coming back from a goal down to triumph 2-1.
Celtic: Bain, Frimpong, Duffy, Bitton, Laxalt, Brown, McGregor, Christie (Elhamed 73), Rogic (Ntcham 84), Elyounoussi (Ajeti 73), Edouard (Griffiths 73)
Unused substitutes: Barkas, Taylor, Klimala, Soro, Turnbull
Aberdeen: Lewis, Hoban, Taylor (Leigh 64), Considine, Hedges, McCrorie, Ferguson, Kennedy (McGinn 85), Wright, Watkins (Main 79), Cosgrove (McLennan 64)
Unused substitutes: Logan, Devlin, Ojo, Edmondson, Woods