Adam Rooney books cup final date for Aberdeen against Bhoys

There was a distinctly Irish flavour to Aberdeen’s 3-2 win over Hibernian in Saturday’s Scottish Cup semi-final.

Adam Rooney books cup final date for Aberdeen against Bhoys

Adam Rooney gave Aberdeen a dream start when he capitalised on a defensive calamity after just 12 seconds to open the scoring.

Aberdeen doubled their advantage after 25 minutes but Hibs fought back and the game was delicately poised at 2-2 when Jonny Hayes, assisted by a large stroke of luck, intervened with just four minutes remaining.

Hayes did well to make space for a shot from long range but the effort appeared to pose no real threat to the Hibs goal until it took a massive deflection off Darren McGregor that wrong-footed the goalkeeper who could only watch on helplessly as the ball rolled into the net to set up a cup final meeting with Celtic.

“We had a bit of luck on our side and it felt like my shot took a long time to go in,” Hayes said.

“I’m just delighted to get through to the final, regardless of how we did it. We started off brilliantly and didn’t do ourselves justice in the second half although we got a lucky break which allowed us to progress.

“This could be our year. The final will be a tough game but we can be confident. We’ve been the second best team in the country this year and hopefully we can go one better in the final.”

In the Championship, Newcastle will secure an immediate return to the Premier League if they win tonight’s home game against Preston. Ahead of the game, Magpies boss Rafa Benitez has hailed the role played by Daryl Murphy this season.

The 34-year-old hasn’t started many games since his move from Ipswich last summer but his experience of Championship life has made him a big asset, Benitez says.

“It is not just his age but his quality and experience in the Championship too,” said Benitez.

“On the first day after I stayed, I am told: ‘You don’t know the Championship.’ Some said: ‘Will Rafa be good enough?’

“You need the people in the Championship to manage situations like that, like in the 94th minute of a game when you should keep the ball and not give the opposition the chance to play a long ball. Players with this experience can help.

“You need a balance between young players, hungry with motivation, and those who can calm people.”

In Saturday’s action, Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich were beaten 1-0 by already- relegated Rotherham while Matt Doherty’s season may be over after he suffered a hamstring injury as Wolves drew 0-0 with Blackburn.

In League One, Rory Gaffney scored twice but Bristol Rovers lost 4-2 at Peterborough while Eoghan O’Connell was sent off for two bookable offences as Walsall lost 1-0 at Coventry.

In League Two, James Collins netted a brace as Crawley Town drew 3-3 with Carlisle United while Liam McAlindon was on the mark as Exeter took a big step towards securing a play-off spot by beating Morecambe 3-1.

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