Semi-finals are often cagey affairs with neither side willing to try anything outrageous in fear that it could cost them a place in the final. Though the Scottish Cup is no different, there have been plenty examples through the years of teams going all hail-mary in an attempt to reach the national final.
Queen of the South 4 -3 Aberdeen
Going back to the 2007/08 season, Aberdeen went into this game as massive favourites, mainly down to the opposition being a league below them. However, if a few neutrals turned up not knowing which side was the Premier League club, they would have probably went with Queens. Those same neutrals would also have been thoroughly entertained by the proceeding 90 minutes.
Queens took the lead through a Steve Tosh goal on 22 minutes, only for Andy Considine to just before half time. The scoring would follow that pattern as Queens would take the lead, then Aberdeen would level things up. That was until John Stewart struck on the hour mark to make it 4-3 to the lower league side. The Dons were all out of equalisers as the chance to reach the final evaded them.
While this game may not be the best for displaying top class defending and goalkeeping, it sure did throw up some excitement.
Celtic 0 - 2 Ross County
A triumph that almost masked the victory of their Highland neighbours all those years previous. Mid-table First Division side Ross County arrived at Hampden for this semi-final given no chance. Celtic may not have been at the peak of their powers but, on paper, they should still have been strong enough to defeat the Dingwall side.
Derek Adams’ underdogs played the pressing game perfectly as they managed to stifle Celtic for the first 45, giving them nothing and going in level at the break. They struck shortly after the interval as Steven Craig cut through the Celtic defence giving the Staggies the lead. County would suck up enormous amounts of Celtic pressure, before killing the game off on the counter as Martin Scott fired in a late volley to seal County’s place in their first national final.
Solely down to the shock factor and the old “Magic of the Cup” cliché, this tie will live long in the memory of many Scottish football fans.
Hibs 4 – 3 Falkirk (AET)
The Scottish Cup curse looked as though it had struck Hibs again as they found themselves 3-0 down after 30 minutes to Championship side Falkirk. Pat Fenlon’s side were shambolic as a fresh-faced Falkirk looked as though they were easily sailing through to the final. Somehow, that wasn’t to be.
An incredible comeback during the second half saw Hibs fight back to 3-3 and force the game into extra-time. They might have even had it finished in 90 minutes if Leigh Griffiths had netted his penalty at 3-1 down.
The fans favourite would make up for the miss, firing in a fantastic 25-yard volley in extra-time, sending the Hibees back to Hampden.
The following day Celtic bettered Dundee United by the odd goal in seven, again after extra-time. That, too, would have been a deserving inclusion in this list.
Inverness 3 – 2 Celtic (AET)
When Virgil van Dijk gave Celtic an early lead over Caley, it looked as though Celtic would be cruising through to another Scottish Cup final. And they probably would have had any of the officials spotted Josh Meekings’ blatant handball, which stopped a Leigh Griffiths header at the far post. The non-decision still rankles with Celtic supporters to this day.
Things would get worse for Celtic as Craig Gordon saw red for taking down Marley Watkins in the box as he was through on goal. Greg Tansey would score the resulting penalty, levelling the score. The match would remain tied going into extra-time and it was Caley Thistle who would strike first with Edward Ofere gave them the 2-1 lead. Loan striker John Guidetti would then equalise for Celtic just before the break in extra-time.
In the end it was right-back David Raven who was the unlikely hero, popping up to meet a Graeme Shinnie cross, sending Inverness on the way to securing their first ever piece of major silverware.
While the previous season had thrown up an Old Firm derby, the first since Rangers’ absence from the top flight, it failed to live up to the billing. Mainly down to Rangers’ shambolic managerial situation and poor quality on the pitch, it was disappointing. Over a year later, Rangers looked revitalised under Mark Warburton and could pose an actual threat to Celtic on the day. They did, and more.
Taking the lead through Kenny Miller, the underdogs continued to take the game to Celtic. It required a regroup at half time from the Scottish champions, and they soon equalised through Erik Sviatchenko. A Barrie McKay wonder goal in extra-time looked to have sealed a place in the final, only for Tom Rogic to tie it up. In the end the match would go to penalties. Rogic would turn from hero to villain, missing the crucial spot-kick and sending Rangers through.