Celtic face Aberdeen on Saturday in the Scottish Cup Final, as they look to complete the treble for the first time in over 15 years, against a Dons side who are looking for revenge after their 3-0 defeat in the League Cup final in November.
If results between the two teams are anything to go by, then there can only be one winner. Celtic ave scored 12 goals against Aberdeen this season, only conceding twice and winning five games out of five, including the most recent encounter where the Bhoys scored three goals inside the first 11 minutes.
Celtic have just completed an astonishing unbeaten season, a feat that hasn’t been achieved for over 100 years, and go into the final off the back of a six match winning streak. They comfortably defeated Rangers 2-0 to reach the final.
Aberdeen recent form has been mixed, with defeats to Celtic and St Johnstone in their previous five games but they do come into the final after an impressive 6-0 victory over Partick Thistle in their final league game of the season. The Dons managed to sneak by Hibs 3-2 in their semi-final.
The Hoops are aiming for a 37th Scottish Cup success, but this is their first final since 2013, in which they beat Hibs 3-0. Celtic will be desperate to win the Scottish Cup for the first time in four years, especially with Rangers not being as competitive as in previous years.
Aberdeen have been Scottish Cup winners seven times in their history, including an outstanding eight year period during the 80s where the club were champions on five different occasions. This is the first final for the club since 2000, where they were soundly beaten 4-0 by Rangers.
The two teams first met in the Scottish Cup Final in 1937. Celtic defeated Aberdeen 2-1 in front of a record crowd of 147,365 at Hampden Park. This is still the largest attendance ever in a Scottish Cup Final.
A promising omen for Aberdeen is their positive record over the Bhoys in Scottish Cup Finals. The Dons have beat Celtic three times, and lost twice. The most recent final between the clubs was in 2000, and it resulted in the first final having to be decided by a penalty shoot-out. Alex Smith’s men were victorious 9-8 on penalties having a goaless 120 minutes.
Celtic are hopeful that Moussa Dembele will be fit to play some part in the Scottish Cup Final on Saturday. The striker has been sidelined since picking up a hamstring injury against Rangers in the semi-final, and he has returned to light training this week. Celtic are said to be less than impressed that the hitman has been called up to France’s under 21 squad this summer though, after a busy first season in Scotland.
The Hoops are expected to name an unchanged side for the final, with Callum McGregor in fine form and keeping Tom Rogic out of the team. Leigh Griffiths will lead the line again in Dembele’s absence.
Aberdeen will be without Ryan Christie against Celtic as the on loan man is ineligible to play against his parent club, which will be a blow for the Dons. The future of Ryan Jack has been a big talking point in recent weeks, with the captain being linked with a move to Rangers and the MLS. Jack was left out of the starting line-up against Partick Thistle but he is expected to start his potentially last game for the club.
Bobby Madden will be in charge of 132nd Scottish Cup Final.
Road to the final
Both teams began the journey to the final in the fourth round, joined by the other ten Premiership teams. The draw also included junior team Bonyrigg Rose and Highland team Formartine United.
Celtic started their campaign to add to their 36 Scottish Cups with a comfortable 3-0 win away to Albion Rovers, while Aberdeen cruised into the fifth round with a 4-0 triumph against Stranraer.
The Dons next match was to be a much sterner test, as a trip to the Highlands proved to be a big challenge. Shay Logan’s 87th minute winner resulted in wild celebrations in the away end and this would provide the momentum to reach the final.
Celtic’s tie was similar in the fact that they faced a fellow team from the Highlands, Inverness, but the result couldn’t have been more different. The Hoops produced a ruthless display to defeat Caley Thistle 6-0, which included a Dembele hat-trick.
Celtic were drawn at home to St Mirren in the quarter-finals, and after a 4-1 success Brendan Rodgers labelled them as the best Scottish side his team had faced the whole season. Aberdeen again struggled to a 1-0 victory, this time against Partick Thistle.
Aberdeen’s semi-final encounter with Hibs was much more thrilling than the previous two rounds, with an 86th minute own goal by Darren McGregor deciding the game, 3-2.
Celtic and Rangers made up the other semi-final, and it was to be Pedro Caixinha’s first Old Firm match in charge. The Bhoys hardly had to get out of second gear, as they strolled to a 2-0 win over their arch rivals.
Story of the cup so far
Bonyrigg Rose were the talking point of the early rounds, as they reached the fourth round of the Scottish Cup. The junior side started off with an 8-2 win over Glasgow University in the first preliminary round, and then defeated Burntisland Shipyard 14-0 in the next round. This was the biggest scoreline in the cup for over 30 years.
In the first round proper, Bonyrigg won 4-1 against Turiff United after a replay and 2-1 over Cove Rangers. The biggest day in the junior side’s history was to come in the third round against Dumbarton, after a 0-0 draw at home, they recorded a sensational 1-0 win in the replay to set up a game against the cup holders no less, Hibs. Sadly, it was to end in a disappointing 8-1 home defeat but the team’s run will live long in the memory.
David Gormley (Clyde) and Wayne McIntosh (Bonyrigg Rose) are the top goalscorers so far, with 8 goals respectively, although 7 of McIntosh’s 8 goals came in the 14-0 win over Burntisland Shipyard!
Will it be Celtic who will win on Saturday to complete an historic treble, or will Aberdeen cause an upset and win their first Scottish Cup in over 25 years?