Aberdeen found it tougher than expected to progress to the quarter final of this season’s Scottish Cup, requiring a replay to get past Stenhousemuir in the previous round and a much improved second half to see off stubborn Queen of the South.
However it’s worth remembering than previous incarnations suffered the humiliation of elimination by both in the past and the side Derek McInnes has constructed over the last six years are made of sterner stuff.
A Hibs team on their way back to the Premiership remain the only lower league outfit to beat them in either of the national cup competitions during that time and there was never any chance of Queens repeating their feat from the 2008 semi-final once Niall McGinn came off the bench at half time.
While their Championship opponents could only strip four outfield substitutes, the Dons had the likes of Mikey Devlin, Manchester United’s on loan striker James Wilson and the Northern Ireland international watching from theirs.
McGinn’s introduction for the anonymous Stevie May was a game changer as the former Celtic winger scored one and provided the assists for two others in a devastating ten minute spell after a soporific first 45 minutes.
The visitors effectively stifled their opponents attacking threat and even caused moments of anxiety of themselves during a largely forgettable opening period as left back Jordan Marshall’s 25 yard drive in the counterattack forced Joe Lewis into a top class save.
All that hard work was undone two minutes after the restart though as Kyle Jacobs tackle on Sam Cosgrove only delayed the inevitable following a sweeping attack as the ball looped into McGinn’s path.
The curled finish was sublime. only to be surpassed by Stephen Dobbie’s stunning equaliser, the seventh in the Scottish Cup for the tournament’s current leading scorer and an astonishing 38th in total this season.
This had to be the best. cutting infield with defenders backing off, the veteran forward unleashed a 35 yard drive that simply flew into the top right hand corner of Lewis’s net but it was to prove short lived consolation.
First McGinn gathered a short corner, picked out an unmarked Andrew Considine who head home their second and his fourth in four Scottish Cup ties against Queen of the South which included the late winner in the replay the last time they met in 2012.
The previous occasion was memorable for all he wrong reasons as far as the defender was concerned, scoring twice and still ending in the losing side as the Doonhamers won the 2008 semi-final at Hampden Park.
This one was key to Aberdeen’s ultimate progress to the last eight coming shortly after Dobbie’s wonder strike, calming any anxiety on or off the field before Cosgrove wrapped up a more comfortable win with another double.
The 22-year-old scored twice against Rangers last midweek and while it would be churlish to criticise someone who has now claimed 14 goals in the last 13 games, he should have finished with a hat trick.
His first came in 65 minutes, from another splendid McGinn cross, which climaxed a three-goals-in-ten-minute burst by a now rampant Aberdeen, while his second came from the penalty spot after Andrew Stirling as harshly judged to have blocked Shay Logan’s cross with an arm.
Cosgrove then passed up the chance of a hat trick with a wild shot in front of an open goal but the margin of defeat was already harsh enough on the Championship side without it becoming any more onerous.
The only disappointment for Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes afterward taking another step towards a fourth major final in the last six was that Shay Logan will need a scan to discover the extent of the ankle injury that forced him off in the second half.
ABERDEEN: Lewis, Logan (Devlin 74), Hoban, Considine, Lowe, Stewart, Ferguson, Shinnie, Mackay-Steven (Wilson 79), May (McGinn 46), Cosgrove. Subs not used: Cerny, Devlin, Ball, Gleeson, McLennan, Wilson.
QUEEN OF THE SOUTH: Martin, Mercer (Aird 75), Marshall, Fordyce, Doyle, Stirling, Jacobs, Dobbie, Low (McGrath 70), Dykes, Maguire. Subs not used: Leighfield, Murray, Irving.