Evening Express

Aberdeen out of Scottish Cup after Hampden horror show

Scottish Cup Semi Final Motherwell v Aberdeen. Aberdeen's Greg Stewart and Andrew Considine looking dejected at Hampden Park. Picture by DARRELL BENNS Pictured on 14/04/2018

The Dons bowed out of the Scottish Cup in dismal fashion as they were beaten by Motherwell at Hampden in the semi final.

A double from Curtis Main and one from Ryan Bowman gave the Steelmen a 3-0 victory and made it a grim afternoon for Aberdeen and the 12,000 fans who had travelled down from the Granite City.

After the opener, which the Reds felt should have been disallowed for handball by Well captain for the day Richard Tait, Stephen Robinson’s side were first to every ball and dominated the first period.

In the second half Aberdeen did generate some momentum at 2-0 down but this was extinguished by the third Motherwell goal from Main.

Both sides made four changes from their last match. After last Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Hearts at Tynecastle the Dons were without skipper Graeme Shinnie, vice-captain Kenny McLean and right-back Shay Logan due to suspension.

Niall McGinn dropped to the bench with Dominic Ball, Kari Arnason, Chidi Nwakali and Adam Rooney brought into the team by boss Derek McInnes, with Scott McKenna named as captain.

The Steelmen’s captain Carl McHugh was suspended and Gael Bigirimana, Elliot Frear and Barry Maguire dropped to the bench after their 0-0 draw with St Johnstone last weekend.

In came Chris Cadden, Andy Rose, Charles Dunne and Allan Campbell.

The Reds had a half chance in the first 30 seconds when Greg Stewart skinned Tait on the right and his cross just evaded Andy Considine at the back post.

And after a cagey opening 20 minutes it was Motherwell who took the lead.

Trevor Carson’s long ball came off Arnason with Tait controlling the ball with his arm on the left of the box, Ball stopped and appealed for handball, with Tait hitting the byline and pulling back for Main who had a tap-in from six yards.

Then two minutes later it got even worse for Aberdeen when McKenna miscued a clearance sending it back towards his own goal, Arnason was under pressure from Ryan Bowman, although it did look as though he was pushed by the striker, but if left Bowman with the chance to shoot.

His first effort was saved by Joe Lewis but Bowman got to the rebound and his shot squirmed agonisingly past Lewis and in.

After being stung twice in quick succession the Dons looked rattled and after 35 minutes were still struggling to get a foothold in the game.

Just before half-time Nwakali was withdrawn after going down injured with Gary Mackay-Steven coming on in his place.

And instantly Mackay-Steven made an impact, he waltzed in off the left and slipped the ball through for Stevie May, the striker was clear to the left of the penalty spot but sent his low left-footed shot just wide.

The first 15 minutes of the second half brought little change in the patten of the game with the Lanarkshire outfit happy to contain and then try to counter-attack.

In the 63rd minute there was promise when McKenna found sub McGinn in midfield, he threaded the ball on for Rooney on the right of the area and his powerful strike was pushed behind by Carson for a fruitless corner.

The Reds were starting to build some momentum but that was crushed in the 66th minute by the third Motherwell goal.

Arnason hit his clearance on halfway straight into Main, the striker beat the Icelandic defender for pace and ran through to slot past Lewis from the edge of the box.

The Reds kept plugging away but nothing seemed to work. When Ryan Christie reached the byline on the left with 18 minutes to play his cutback evaded his team mates and when it did break to McGinn his shot was well over.

The Northern Irishman had another chance in the last 10 minutes but fired over again from the right of the box after sub Sam Cosgrove had crossed from the left.

Motherwell: Trevor Carson, Richard Tait, Liam Grimshaw (Ross MacLean 88), Chris Cadden, Curtis Main (George Newell 86), Ryan Bowman (Nadir Ciftci 78), Andy Rose, Charles Dunne, Tom Aldred, Cedric Kipre, Allan Campbell.

Subs not used: Russell Griffiths, Gael Bigirimana, Elliot Frear, Barry McGuire.

Aberdeen: Joe Lewis, Dominic Ball (Niall McGinn 61), Kari Arnason, Scott McKenna, Andrew Considine; Greg Stewart, Anthony O’Connor, Chidi Nwakali (Gary Mackay-Steven 44), Ryan Christie; Stevie May, Adam Rooney (Sam Cosgrove 78).

Subs not used: Freddie Woodman, Mark Reynolds, Dean Campbell, Scott Wright.