Aberdeen edge out Hibernian to win Scottish Cup semi-final 3-2
Last Updated: 22/04/17 4:50pm
Aberdeen survived a Hibernian fightback at Hampden Park to edge a thrilling Scottish Cup semi-final, which needed a late, deflected Jonny Hayes goal to earn them a tense 3-2 victory.
In a topsy-turvy encounter, Dons sprinted into an early two-goal lead only for Hibs' substitute Grant Holt to play a pivotal role as the Edinburgh side battled back to level matters in the second half.
However, the enterprising Hayes managed to conjure up a winning goal late in the game, even if his shot required a deflection off a defender to beat keeper Ofir Marciano.
In a remarkable start to the match, the Dons wasted little time in taking the lead, as Adam Rooney opened the scoring inside 12 seconds.
Within moments of the kick-off, John McGinn was dispossessed while another error a few seconds later by Darren McGregor allowed Rooney to race clear and clinically dispatch the ball beyond keeper Marciano from 18 yards.
And very little happened at Hampden until the holders presented the Dons with their second goal in the 24th minute.
After Fraser Fyvie had been booked for a foul on Kenny McLean, Ryan Christie made it 2-0 from the resulting free-kick when he out-foxed Marciano, who allowed the midfielder to curl the ball home at the near post from a tight angle.
Hayes then hit the side-netting a few minutes later, as a buoyant Dons threatened to take complete control.
But somehow, shell-shocked Hibs managed to find a way back into the match with their first attempt on goal in the 35th minute when, from out of nowhere, substitute Holt used his strength to hold off two defenders and head home Martin Boyle's cross to the far post.
The Scottish Championship winners certainly finished the half stronger, before the game settled down after the break.
Shaleum Logan flashed a shot beyond the far post on 56 minutes, before Hibs levelled matters on the hour.
The advancing Dylan McGeouch played a one-two with 36-year-old Holt before slipping his shot past Dons 'keeper Joe Lewis from 15 yards.
As Aberdeen attempted to regain the lead, Marciano comfortably saved Graeme Shinnie's deflected effort from 18 yards, midway through the second half.
And luck was certainly on their side five minutes from time, as the holders finally lost their grip on the trophy.
Hayes picked the ball up just inside Hibernian's half before creating space for a long-range shot which deflected off McGregor's left-knee to wrong-foot Marciano who could do little to prevent the ball from spinning just inside the post.
In the final frantic few seconds of injury time, Marciano advanced into Aberdeen's penalty area to meet Jason Cummings's corner but his header was saved by his opposite number Lewis.
But Aberdeen survived a late onslaught to book their return to Hampden on May 27 and await the winners of Sunday's second semi-final between Celtic and Rangers.