Aberdeen 1 - 0 Partick Thistle: Shinnie secures semi-final spot

Graeme Shinnie scores the goal which booked Aberdeen's semi-final place. Picture: SNS.

Graeme Shinnie scores the goal which booked Aberdeen's semi-final place. Picture: SNS.

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Graeme Shinnie may have scored the only goal of game but there was no doubt Aberdeen deserved their place in the last four of the Scottish Cup, where the luck of the draw paired them with Hibs.

No disrespect to the current holders but there’s no doubt Dons manager Derek McInnes would have arranged for just that outcome had he been able to influence the pairings for the semi-finals and he will be confident of taking the club to a first final in 17 years.

They did lose the last time the teams met at that stage of the competition when Leigh Griffiths scored a late winner in 2012 but this is a much better Aberdeen team than the one Craig Brown was in charge of back then.

They showed that with a performance of strength, determination and enough skill to edge a victory that was more comfortable than the scoreline reflected against opposition reduced to ten men when Danny Devine was sent off in stoppage time for a second yellow card.

That goal remains the only one Partick Thistle have conceded in 450 minutes of football but the history, ancient and modern, suggested this would be the outcome as you have to go back to 1930 for Partick Thistle’s only Scottish Cup win in what is now nine attempts against Aberdeen and their recent league record isn’t any better.

The Dons have now won eight in an unbeaten sequence of ten meetings and the Jags’ manager Alan Archibald must have feared as much when the draw was made despite a four game winning run heading into the tie.

What’s more they hadn’t conceded a single goal in all that time but the significant fact was Aberdeen had been the last team to breach that defence when Ryan Christie scored in stoppage time at Pittodrie last month.

It seemed inevitable the Dons would end that sequence although the source of the strike was much less predictable as Shinnie claimed a rare goal with a strike of real quality to stop the clock at 403 minutes without loss.

The man who captained Inverness Caley Thistle to success in the competition two years ago pointed his current club towards the last four by cleverly opening up the angle for a left foot shot from inside the “D” that curled into the bottom corner of the net.

There was certainly no surprise that McGinn was involved in the creation as he was a constant menace throughout a tie in which the visitors defended diligently but rarely held on to possession long enough to pose a threat of their own in attack.

In fact it was significant that until injury time the closest Partick Thistle came to scoring was when Jayden Stockley miscued a clearing header that flew a couple of feet wide of Joe Lewis’s left-hand post.

The one decent chance they created came five minutes into time added on but Abdul Osman failed to steer Ryan Edwards’ back-post free-kick on target but referee Craig Thomson still found time to infuriate Aberdeen in general and Jonny Hayes in particular.

The Irishman picked up the loose ball and with Cerny up for the set-piece he hared the length of the field to take advantage of the unguarded goal at the other end only for the referee to blow the final whistle before he could convert.

That would have given a more realistic sheen to the scoreline as Aberdeen were streets ahead creatively but couldn’t convert that into a larger lead, with Cerny a substantial obstacle when it came to that.

The goalkeeper made a stunning save from a McGinn half volley in the first half and topped that with an instinctive block to keep out an Andrew Considine header after the break as the home side looked progressively more dangerous.

Peter Pawlett hit the side net, Adam Rooney smacked the outside of the post and substitute Anthony O’Connor clattered a six-yard header against the crossbar making it a more nervy finale that it should have been.

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