Killie 0-1 Dons
Scottish Cup Semi-Final, Muirton Park, Perth, March 14th 1970
Killie 0-1 Dons
Scottish Cup Semi-Final, Muirton Park, Perth, March 14th 1970
Scottish Cup Semi-Final, Muirton Park, Perth, March 14th 1970
Scottish Cup Semi-Final, Muirton Park, Perth, March 14th 1970
Killie were paired with the Dons in the 1969-70 Scottish Cup Semi-Final.
For once a true neutral venue was found at Muirton Park in Perth, the original St Johnstone ground. With Celtic facing Dundee in the other semi final at Hampden, Aberdeen were delighted at Perth being chosen for their tie, with Killie being upset,, as it guaranteed a huge Aberdeen support for the game which would be important. Derek McKay had done enough to retain his place in the side and the Dons forward lined up with Joe Harper and Jim Forrest in the Aberdeen attack. Kilmarnock had been one of the best provincial sides in the 1960’s and were clinging on to former glories by the end of the decade.
Aberdeen for their part were an evolving side under Turnbull and a match for any side on their day. More than 17,000 Aberdeen supporters made it down to Perth for the tie in a crowd in excess of 28,000 filled the old ground at Muirton.
There was trouble on the terraces before and during the game as fans were struggling to gain admission to the ground. Once again it was Derek McKay who did the damage for the Dons; his goal in 21 minutes giving Aberdeen a crucial lead that they were to hold on to and reach the cup final.
Despite an aerial assault by Kilmarnock in the second half, the Dons defence stood firm to repel the Ayrshire side.
Joe Harper recalled the tense match; “We knew that once we had got ahead that we were a helluva side to beat. We were confident the defence could hold out against any side and we knew that scoring first was crucial. Kilmarnock were a tough side back then; more physical but we were aware of that and could mix things up when we had to. It was great day for us and Derek did the trick again; he was a far better player than most would give credit for. We relied on a quick breaks back than and we had the players who could cause any side problems. It was a confidence thing and we knew that on our day we could take any side on. That was maybe why we were such a threat in cup football. We went on to prove that in the final which was a day I will never forget.”
If the Dons were not at their best in the semi-final, they were composed and workmanlike. In the cup this Aberdeen team had the nerve and belief to succeed. With a fast tempo to the game, the Dons just made it, keeping the huge Aberdeen support living on their nerves right through to full time.
On reflection Kilmarnock could point out to the mounting pressure they piled on to the Dons defence in the second half, but they squandered several chances and came up against an Aberdeen defence that stood firm. Once Derek McKay scored after a defence-splitting move by Jim Hamilton and Joe Harper, the Dons played it tight. Eddie Morrison and Ross Mathie were the front players who Kilmarnock relied on but their robust approach was superbly dealt with by Tom McMillan and Martin Buchan. Time and time again the Ayrshire men launched high balls into the Aberdeen area but with keeper Bobby Clark and his defence standing up to the challenge, as the Rugby Park just could not find a break through.
The Ayrshire side grew more desperate as the game entered a frantic finale but their failure to vary their style proved their undoing.
The Dons were camped deep in their own half for long spells but they created the better chances with Harper and McKay to the fore. Jim Hermiston also emerged as a hero for the Dons as his tireless efforts thwarted the potential threat of Jim McLean. Hermiston also sustained an ankle injury and had to be helped off the field by Jim Bonthrone ten minutes from time. As Aberdeen defended quite deeply, they were able to hit back on the break with counter attacks down both flanks. It was a tense game from the start with both sides looking likely enough to take the initiative. At the centre of everything was Derek McKay and who could blame him as he left the field with a wry smile? Given a free transfer by Dundee at the end of the previous season, the Banff born younsgter’s football future looked in doubt. Now within a year he was poised to win a cup medal. McKay kept his place following his Brockville heroics and his opportunistic winner at Muirton sent Aberdeen to the Final.
Aberdeen; Clark, Boel, Murray, Hermiston, McMillan, M Buchan, McKay, Robb, Forrest, Harper, Hamilton. Sub; G Buchan for Hermiston (80)
Kilmarnock; McLaughlan, King, Dickson, Gilmour, McGrory, McDonald, T McLean, Morrison, Mathie, J McLean, Cook.
Derek McKay: “Muirton (home of St Johnstone before they moved to McDiarmid Park) had the biggest playing area in the whole of Scotland, which suited me to a tee. I always found plenty of space and it was great to get the only goal again.
Aberdeen’s celebrations had to be curtailed because of a riot between the two sets of fans at the final whistle. “The bottles and cans were flying everywhere. It failed to dampen our celebrations, though. The game was pretty dire, but we scrambled through and that was all that mattered.”
Eddie Morrison: (After his playing career was finished) "That Semi Final loss to the Dons still hurts to this day, it was the biggest dissapointment in my entire career"!
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