Kilmarnock beat the Siberian weather conditions to get to Pittodrie then stood up to their own particular ‘beast from the east’ considering the blizzard of negative statistics suffered against Aberdeen recently.
Steve Clarke has transformed the Ayrshire club’s fortunes since taking over as manager but, even then, two of the three defeats he experienced prior to yesterday were inflicted by the Dons who had won 15 and drawn the other in 16 meetings under Derek McInnes.
Graeme Shinnie’s early goal threatened business as usual but Kilmarnock are made of sterner stuff nowadays as they showed character and determination to at least earn another crack at making it 18th time lucky in the replay at Rugby Park on Tuesday week.
Of course it just had to be Kris Boyd who scored the all-important equaliser from the penalty spot before setting off on an extravagant celebration as payback for the Aberdeen supporters who take particular pleasure in giving the former Rangers striker stick at every possible opportunity.
The Red Army might not agree but it was simply a case of quid pro quo as far as the player was concerned as he said:“it’s part and parcel of football, a lot gets made of a lack of interaction between players and fans and bookings getting dished out but for me it’s a bit of banter .
“If you give it out you take it back. it doesn’t bother me.The most important thing is we’re still in the cup with a chance to go through.”
The abuse aimed his way had reached a crescendo on the stroke of half time when Boyd squandered a great chance to send his side in level at the interval only to fire a volley from ten yards soaring high into the Richard Donald Stand when it should have been nestling in the net.
The opportunity came from a corner conceded when an otherwise underemployed Freddie Woodman was forced to produce a save high to his left to keep out Kirk Broadfoot’s header from Rory McKenzie’s previous set piece.
Woodman actually played 12 games on loan at Kilmarnock last season and surprisingly it was the Ayrshire club’s current goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald who gifted Aberdeen the lead with an uncharacteristic error after just nine minutes.
Shinnie, back in from the start after serving a two game suspension in the defeats against Hibernian and Celtic, was outstanding throughout, but even he must have wondered how an acute angled drive was able to find the far corner of the net.
Crucial blocks by Greg Taylor and McKenzie prevented Kenny McLean then Adam Rooney increasing that lead before the visitor’s, backed by over 1,300 travelling supporters, started to threaten themselves.
Not that it was a day for attractive, passing football although that had nothing to do with the weather conditions that have been hogging the headlines lately, rather the poor state of the Pittodrie pitch which made even simple passing difficult.
It was more thud and blunder than blood and thunder at times but Eamonn Brophy thought he should have had a penalty in the first half when he went down in a challenge with Ryan Christie while Aberdeen are convinced Steven McLean got it wrong when he pointed to the spot in 68 minutes.
MacDonald had redeemed himself by then with a wonderful save to prevent Kari Arnason surely heading the Dons directly into the semi final and the afternoon was to take a turn for the worse for the Iceland international.
There seemed little threat when Taylor threaded the ball between Arnason and Shay Logan but they seemed intent on leaving the mopping up duties to each other and Jordan Jones, who suddenly came to life in the second period, pounced.
He slipped and went to ground after seemingly being tripped by the lagging Logan who escaped a second booking after being cautioned in the first half, but not the punishment of Boyd lashing in his 17th goal of the season.
There was still time for Adam Rooney to flash a shot wide of the target before the end as the game became stretched but Kilmarnock deserved a second chance to end their Aberdeen hoodoo and secure a first Scottish Cup win in eight attempts against their bogey team.