Date: 1st March 2007 at 8:27pm
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The two good footballing sides were kept apart in the Scottish Cup semi-final draw tonight by ball-picker Alex McLeish. The final promises to be a mouth-watering clash if both Hibs and St Johnstone can dispose of their respective opponents, Dunfermline and Celtic.

No doubt Celtic will be favourites to brush aside the Perth men`s challenge but anyone who watched last nights action from Fir Park will realise that there is plenty skill, fight, speed and attacking play in the Saints all over the park that could trouble the unfamiliar Celtic defence, although, they did competently held out AC Milan last week.

Still, it`s the Cup and anything can happen and if Owen Coyle`s team were to take the field at Hampden it would mean they`d beat 3 SPL clubs in Falkirk, Motherwell and Celtic as well as Ayr United and would have certainly earned their Hampden place, no one could dispute that they would be well deserved finalists.

Their opponents Celtic will have had the record of beating Dumbarton, Livingston, Inverness Caley (in the last minute) and of course St Johnstone if they make the final in May, an all together far lighter challenge but that`s the luck of the draw.

There is a slight comfort to be had when the team that knocks your favoured club out of a tournament goes on to win the trophy. I don`t think many Dons fans will argue that Hibs deservedly put Aberdeen out of the running and that the Dons were perhaps lucky to even force a replay, but they did and showed great desire and fight to do so.

Hibs have had a differing run in terms of quality of opposition besides the Aberdeen matches. They`ve faced a tricky game against last season`s finalists and future SPL side Gretna, played bottom of the First Division Queen of the South and now are pitched in against bottom of the SPL Dunfermline on their road to Hampden.

But it`s no foregone conclusion that Hibs will make the 26th of May final as many will expect. They maybe bottom of the league but the Pars have kept some sensational form for the Cup. Despite comfortably beating Partick Thistle 2-0 in the last round, they`ve also knocked out two of the Cup favourites in Rangers and Hearts. If they can add Hibs to that list then it will be a remarkable achievement and earn them the title of “club most deserving of a final place” considering their league troubles and standard of opposition faced to get there.

Jimmy Calderwood must be wondering what might have been had his side came out on top in the Hibs clashes and even more so when he thinks that their opponents are the team he left. He just wasn`t destined to be at Hampden again this year, not even the Queens Park League Cup embarrassment was played there.



Hibs most likely will make the final as their form is consistent enough and will also probably be going for their second trophy of the season and I personally wouldn`t mind seeing them do so. They did outplay Aberdeen in the Cup matches and have some of the best young, Scottish stars the country has to offer. They play clever, entertaining, attacking football and Willie Miller`s decision to start scouting in Edinburgh recently is a testament to the players they have produced, Miller wishing to develop the same quality for Aberdeen.



There is however some selfishness in favouring Hibs to win the Scottish Cup. Not only is it more acceptable that the Dons lost to the eventual Cup winners, I hope that by backing Hibs they can do us a favour and take something from their visitors on Sunday, when Aberdeen`s Euro rivals Rangers pay them a visit at Easter Road.

If Aberdeen make the Champions League, Hibs can have all the domestic cups they want.