Home Front Best For The Dons
Updated Monday, 9th March 2009
Aberdeen failed to complete the job at East End Park and have to bring Dunfermline up north to dedice who meets Falkirk in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup.
Aberdeen have to take Dunfermline back to Pittodrie after the SPL side failed to overcome their First Division Homecoming Scottish Cup quarter-final opponents on Saturday. Dons manager Jimmy Calderwood was a "wee bit annoyed" with the his side's inability to deliver a positive result at the first attempt but has consoled himself by remembering his side's Pittodrie cup record. After a slow start at East End Park, Aberdeen looked to be heading for the semi-finals when Sone Aluko fired home a 20-yard drive around the hour mark. However, ten Pars lived to play another day when Nicky Phinn scrambled home an 81st-minute equaliser after Jamie Langfield had failed to hold Jamie Mole's long-range shot. The pair meet again on 17 March. While Calderwood was unhappy with the "sloppy defending" that led to the equalising goal, he acknowledged the part played in a keenly-fought cup tie by Dunfermline, the club he left to join Aberdeen. He is confident the Dons can win the replay given their recent home record in cup competition.
Aberdeen have not lost a cup game at Pittodrie since Rangers beat them 2-0 in 2004, shortly after Calderwood took over. In the 12 ties since then, the likes of Bayern Munich, Celtic, Lokomotiv Moscow and FC Copenhagen have all failed to win. Calderwood said: "I think we have only been beaten by Rangers in a cup tie at Pittodrie, in the League Cup when we first joined. Since then we have played a few big European games and not lost, so hopefully that's a good omen. I know a lot of clubs said Aberdeen got the easiest draw but it's a difficult place to come. They have probably got more SPL experience than us. So it was a hard, hard game. "We came here to win the game but we're still in it and that's the most important thing."
Aluko also seemed confident Aberdeen will finish the job against the Irn-Bru First Division side. He said: "Being 1-0 up and quite comfortable, they weren't really pressing us too much in the second half, we shouldn't have drawn that game. So we're disappointed. But we have played against them now and we know there's not that much to fear. We just need to be competitive and get in their faces again and the rest should take care of itself."
Dunfermline manager Jim McIntyre was full of praise for his team's display of character and determination to fight back. McIntyre said: "I'm just delighted with the way we have competed. That's three times we have played Premier League opposition this season and I think we've given a good account of ourselves each time. Pittodrie is one difficult place to go to. I never won there many times myself as a player, so I know exactly what we're in for. But there is character in the side and it's up to them to take the confidence from how we played into the next game, and just maybe try to improve our end product a wee bit."
Ger Harley (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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