Football: Aberdeen show pedigree

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IT IS no surprise that Aberdeen are through to their 14th Scottish Cup Final, to be held on 29 May.

Their penchant for the competition was evident in this semi-final win over Hibernian at Tynecastle. While Hibs, who have not won the trophy for 91 years, huffed and puffed, Aberdeen sat back for much of the match but possessed the players to make the contributions at key times.

Scott Booth, recently promoted to Scotland's national team, scored the simplest of winning goals early in the second half and Theo Snelders, their Dutch goalkeeper, made an important save from the Hibs substitute, Gareth Evans, in the final minutes to preserve the advantage.

The Scottish Cup pedigree runs through the Aberdeen squad. Willie Miller, a rookie in football management, captained Aberdeen to four victories in the Eighties and the only player to come close to matching that record recently is Roy Aitken, who won five finals.

Significantly, Aitken was one of Miller's first signings when he took over as manager and the former Celtic midfielder was chasing every ball on Saturday as if his life depended on it. Miller has now guided Aberdeen to the two major Scottish cup finals in his first full season in charge and has also given Rangers a run for their money in the League.

But it was Booth who gave promise of a bright future for Aberdeen. He revealed afterwards that he dreamt of scoring the winning goal, and his premonition came true.

Booth is now hoping that his fellow international Eoin Jess, who broke his leg in Aberdeen's quarter-final against Clydebank will be fit to return for the final.

'One of the first things that went through my mind when I scored was that it gave Eoin the chance of being fit for the final. If he's fit he'll play,' said Booth, who seemed unruffled by the fact that Jess's return could cost him his place.

Goal: Booth (55) 0-1

Hibernian: Burridge; Miller, Mitchell, Hunter, Tweed, MacLeod (G Evans, 69), Lennon (Orr, 80), Hamilton, Wright, Jackson, McGinlay.

Aberdeen: Snelders; McKimmie, Smith, Aitken (Ten Caat, 74), Irvine, McLeish, Richardson, Mason (Shearer, 87), Booth, Kane, Paatelainen.

Referee: D Syme (Rotherglen).