Scottish Cup: The big talking points ahead of Aberdeen’s clash with Hibs

Neil Lennon and Derek McInnes get their hands on the trophy (SNS Group / Bill Murray & Craig Williamson)

HIBERNIAN and Aberdeen meet in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals on Saturday.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the talking points ahead of the Hampden clash.

PRESSURE OFF HIBS?

Hibernian have already achieved their priority for the season, promotion back to the top flight, and the holders are unburdened by the weight of history after ending their 114-year wait for the Scottish Cup last campaign. They have played with pressure all term in the Championship and can now perform with a freedom at Hampden in their first match since winning the title.

The lighter mood in their camp was evident this week when top goalscorer Jason Cummings grappled with professional wrestler Grado in a comical routine which was screened on his Twitter account. Aberdeen are close to securing the runners-up spot in the Ladbrokes Premiership, which would make it a successful season, but they are desperate to add silverware and end a 27-year Scottish Cup drought while making up for a disappointing performance in the Betfred Cup final defeat by Celtic earlier this campaign.

MANAGERS USED TO WINNING

Neil Lennon knows all about success in the competition having won the Scottish Cup six times with Celtic, as player and manager.

Hibernian manager Neil Lennon celebrates at full time (SNS Group)
Hibernian manager Neil Lennon celebrates at full time (SNS Group)

The build-up to Hampden occasions are nothing new to the man who succeeded Scottish Cup-winning boss Alan Stubbs while his motivational skills are apparent.

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes (SNS Group / Roddy Scott)
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes (SNS Group / Roddy Scott)

Derek McInnes, who won the trophy once with Rangers, has a similar determination to succeed and has his sights set on building a legacy of silverware at Pittodrie to add to the 2014 League Cup success.

GOALSCORERS

Both teams have goalscoring talismans in the shape of Cummings and Adam Rooney. They are different types of players with Rooney better in the air and the six-yard box, and Cummings lethal from outside the box as well as inside.

Hibernian's Jason Cummings (SNS Group / Graham Stuart)
Hibernian’s Jason Cummings (SNS Group / Graham Stuart)

But they share similarities in that they are always looking to get in behind and stretch the game.

Rooney has scored 74 goals in just over three years at Aberdeen while 21-year-old Cummings already has 67 for Hibs. One of them could well be the Hampden match-winner.

FORM

For a team that have just clinched a title, Hibs have not really been in top gear in recent months, winning five out of their last 14 matches. But they have only lost once in that spell, against St Mirren, and a draw could be enough at Hampden if they later come through a penalty shoot-out.

Adam Rooney (Craig Watson/PA Wire)
Adam Rooney (Craig Watson/PA Wire)

Aberdeen have won 16 of their last 19 games and bounced back from the late collapse in their 3-0 defeat by Rangers when they won at St Johnstone last weekend. The Dons have the winning mentality but Hibs’ resilience suggests they will not give up their trophy without a major fight.


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