Aberdeen take aim at scheduling after booking final date as proud Barry Robson hails 'tactically clever' team

The Dons boss is not happy about playing Eintracht Frankfurt four days before Hampden showpiece

Barry Robson hailed his side’s fortitude after Aberdeen reached the Viaplay Cup final following a 1-0 win over Hibs in a season where he claims the odds have been heavily stacked against his team.

The Pittodrie manager is incensed at the heavy schedule of games and although it’s a welcome extra appointment, even the date of the Viaplay Cup final itself – when his side will play either Hearts or Rangers – poses a problem.

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“My big frustration is that we need to play Eintracht Frankfurt on the Thursday before the final,” said Robson. “They’ve done well there, haven’t they? We’ve also had four away games in the Scottish Premiership after Europe. We’re trying to help Scottish teams but we got a day less rest than Hibs before today’s game. Should the league be more sympathetic? Look at our schedule and make your own mind up.”

Aberdeen manager Barry Robson celebrates his team's win over Hibs at Hampden.Aberdeen manager Barry Robson celebrates his team's win over Hibs at Hampden.
Aberdeen manager Barry Robson celebrates his team's win over Hibs at Hampden.

Robson resumed his criticism of the SPFL despite a successful outcome against Hibs, who had a goal from Martin Boyle chopped off for offside after a long VAR check. The Aberdeen manager saw Jack MacKenzie sent off for a second booking offence with 16 minutes left. But his team not only kept Hibs out, they went ahead on 78 minutes when Bojan Miovski scored a fine striker’s goal past David Marshall.

Robson paid tribute to his players, who have been based in Glasgow – they have been training at Lesser Hampden – since a 4-2 win at Motherwell on Wednesday night, 24 hours after Hibs had drawn 2-2 with Ross County at Easter Road. “I’m so proud of how the boys played and they deserve everything they get,” he said. “We haven’t seen our families in a while because we’ve been travelling and in hotels, which is draining. But we’re in the fight, we’re still in there. We’re in a final and fighting.

“We’ve been on our travels a lot and had a really hard game at Killie and then we were away again to Motherwell," he continued. “Now we’ve come to Hampden so for me, to get that character and spirit is everything to me and more important than talent or ability.

“We couldn’t play the way we wanted with four games in nine days. With all the games we’ve had, it’s been difficult. We had to be tactically clever today - we just couldn’t go after them the way we wanted to. It’s impossible. But we were tactically good and the players performed. There wasn’t a lot in the first-half. They started the second half well and we had a man sent off.”

Robson said he did not see MacKenzie’s silly second booking, for pushing Lewis Miller to the ground. “I was looking at the other side, I’ll need to have a look back at it,” he said. “Listen, Bojan could have scored three goals in the end. For me, it’s a semi-final and it’s about winning. And coming on the back of all that travel, what a performance that is from my players.”