Aberdeen welcomed Livingston to Pittodrie in this all-Premiership Scottish Cup tie, with the Lions looking to repeat the result from their last trip up north to take on the Reds.
The Dons overcame Dumbarton in the previous round, with a late Callum Hendry sealing a victory against the resolute League One outfit. Livi on the other hand left it late to clinch their place in the fourth round, scoring in extra time to seal a 2-1 victory after a tough test against Raith Rovers had ended 1-1 after 90 minutes.
Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass made his debut in the dugout, which saw two changes to the Dons side that defeated St Johnstone 1-0 at McDiarmid Park last weekend. Connor McLennan and Fraser Horby replaced Jack Mackenzie and Florian Kamberi.
Livingston manager Davie Martindale made just one change from the Lions’ 6-0 drubbing at Celtic Park and that was between the sticks, with Max Stryjek coming in for Robby McCrorie in goal.
It was the visitors who created the first chance of the evening after just six minutes. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas played a one-two with Craig Sibbald on the left wing, and the forward fired across the box to Nicky Devlin. The full back met the low cross with a powerful strike, but couldn’t keep his effort down as it flew just over the bar.
Aberdeen had their first foray forward on 16 minutes. Niall McGinn dispossessed Jason Holt in midfield and drove forward with the ball. He found Jonny Hayes on the left-hand side who squared across the face of goal for Connor McLennan but with the goal gaping the winger side footed his finish wide of the target.
On the half hour mark, the Dons went close again after another good move down the left. Matty Kennedy was the provider this time as his cut back was met by Fraser Hornby, but the striker’s left-footed effort was well held by Stryjek.
Joe Lewis was forced off ten minutes before the break after picking up an earlier knock. On came substitute keeper Gary Woods.
Then, almost straight after the change, things went from bad to worse for Stephen Glass’ Dons. Emmanuel-Thomas did brilliantly to drive inside from the right wing, playing a lovely one-two with Scott Pittman. After getting the ball back from the midfielder, he rolled the ball beyond Hoban and coolly slotted into the far corner beyond Woods from just inside the box.
Half Time – Aberdeen 0-1 Livingston.
Just two minutes after the restart, Aberdeen had a great chance to level proceedings. Dean Campbell whipped a free-kick into the box and it was met by Tommie Hoban, but his close-range header was straight at Stryjek who held firmly.
Then, moments later Livi broke forward through Scott Pittman. The midfielder had option to his right but fancied a strike himself from distance, but it sailed well wide of the post.
On the hour mark, Aberdeen looked to their bench to try and inject some more attacking threat. Off went Hornby, his replacement Florian Kamberi.
Immediately after the change, Alan Forrest went close to grabbing a second for the Lions. After some good work on the right wing, he drove into the box but his effort stung the palms of Woods tight angle was held by woods
Connor McLennan tried his luck from 25 yards out but his shot flew well wide of the post. That was his last involvement as he was replaced by Callum Hendry a minute later.
On 77 minutes, the game broke into life again. Nicky Devlin broke forward down the right with a fantastic run beating several players for pace. He unselfishly cut back for Forrest but the winger had his shot blocked and cleared away.
From the clearance, the Dons got bodies forward themselves exposing Livi who had burst forward in numbers. Hayes cut the ball back from wide on the left into a dangerous area, and picked out Niall McGinn. The midfielder took a touch to compose himself and fired a rocket into the top corner to equalise.
Just two minutes later, Aberdeen came close to going in front. McGinn was involved again, he found Kennedy on the right who cut inside but fires effort into side netting.
That would be the last action of the ninety minutes, with the match going to extra time.
Full Time – Aberdeen 1-1 Livingston
Immediately after the restart, Livingston looked to threaten. Nicky Devlin was again very influential down the right flank. His cross was held up by Emmanuel-Thomas, who was clipped by Dean Campbell. Referee Colin Steven pointed to the spot. Up stepped the man that won it, and he converted with style, sending Woods the wrong way for his second of the evening.
Just a couple of minutes later, Florian Kamberi was denied by Max Stryjek. The striker cut inside, beating the sliding Devlin but had his effort thwarted by the Livi keeper who spreadd himself and stayed big to block from close range.
However, just seconds later Kamberi had his goal. After some good build up play again by the hosts, the ball was squared to the striker and from inside the six yard box he couldn’t miss as Aberdeen pegged Livingston back again.
The tense, frantic encounter had even more drama on 100 minutes when Tommie Hoban, who had already been booked for a cynical foul on Alan Forrest, clattered Scott Pittman. To the surprise of everyone in Pittodrie, Colin Steven didn’t award a free-kick to the Lions, let alone a second yellow for Hoban who bewilderingly stayed on the park.
Then, in the dying embers of the first half of extra time, Emmanuel-Thomas went in search for a hat-trick. He shrugged off two red shirts, and from just outside the box dragged his shot agonisingly past the post.
Both sides had half chances as the entertaining game went into the final 15 minutes, but there was nothing to separate them as the match ended 2-2 after 120 minutes of football. Penalties would decide who would meet Dundee United in next Saturday’s Quarter Final.
- 1-0 Aberdeen went first. Lewis Ferguson made no mistake as he gave the Dons the lead.
- 1-1 What a penalty from Alan Lithgow, right into the top corner. A great reponse.
- 2-1. Aberdeen take the lead again through Kamberi who sends Stryjek the wrong way.
- 2-1 Jason Holt hits the bar.
- 3-1 Cool penalty to give the Dons the advantage.
- 3-2. Jet slots home. Cool as you like again, carbon copy of earlier pen.
- 4-2 Dean Campbell calmly converts.
- 4-3. Under pressure Aaron Taylor-Sinclair powers one into the right corner despite Woods guessing correctly.
- 5-3. Up stepped Ross McCrorie, and he made no mistake to send in the winning penalty, as it was cup heartbreak for the Lions.
A valiant effort from Livingston, but not to be on the day.
Aberdeen: Lewis (⇔ Woods 36), Hoban ▊, Considine, Hornby (⇔ Kamberi 59), McGinn (⇔ Ross 105), Hayes ▊, McLennan (⇔ Hendry 72), Ferguson ▊, Campbell, Kennedy, McCrorie
Subs not used: Ritchie, McGeouch, Ruth, Ramsay, Duncan
Goals: McGinn (77), Kamberi (95)
Penalties: Ferguson Kambari Hendry Campbell McCrorie
Livingston: Stryjek ▊, Devlin, Fitzwater ▊ (⇔ Taylor-Sinclair 108), Guthrie ▊, Longridge (⇔ McMillan 105), Bartley, Holt ▊, Emmanuel-Thomas, Pittman, Sibbald (⇔ Lithgow 90), Forrest (⇔ Poplatnik 84)
Subs not used: McCrorie, Ambrose, Diani, Mullin, Kabia
Goals: Emmanuel-Thomas (37 & 93 pen)
Penalties: Lithgow Holt Emmanuel-Thomas Taylor-Sinclair
Referee: Colin Steven
Match Report: Calum Brown