With less than five hours to go until the eagerly-anticipated Betfred Cup final, @Kyle_Gunn97 is back4‘s very own Geoff Shreeves bringing an update on the respective teams and filling you in on what’s been said by both sides…
Aberdeen and Celtic will contest the first piece of silverware of the 2016/2017 campaign in the Betfred Cup final at Hampden Park. The game will see Brendan Rodgers’ first opportunity to win a trophy in the Parkhead hot seat. Aberdeen will start the game as underdogs but will be hoping to call on their experience of two years ago when they defeated Inverness on penalties in the final at Celtic Park.
The Dons booked their place in this afternoon’s showpiece with a 2-0 success over Championship outfit Greenock Morton. An Adam Rooney header and a Kenny McLean tap in were enough to separate the sides. The latter was only an unused substitute when St. Mirren won the same competition under Danny Lennon in the 2012/2013 season.
Celtic are still unbeaten domestically under Brendan Rodgers, and have already secured two league wins over the Dons, the latest being a 1-0 win at Pittodrie. The Northern Irishman will be looking to build on the success of the semi-final win over their bitter rivals Rangers, where Moussa Dembele’s last minute goal was enough to get the Hoops through to the final.
Aberdeen have a fully fit squad for the game at Hampden Park.
Defender Ash Taylor and former Celtic winger Niall McGinn are pushing for recalls to the starting line-up, while the Dons will be looking for big performances from Adam Rooney, James Maddison and Kenny McLean who have been involved in all of the things that Aberdeen have done well recently. It was Rooney’s penalty and a double from McLean that helped them come from behind at Inverness last weekend.
Celtic plan to give Scott Sinclair every possible opportunity to make the starting line-up, despite the in-form winger having to come off with a hamstring injury in midweek against Barcelona.
Leigh Griffiths, who took no part in that game, could start after recovering from his own hamstring problem, with Brendan Rodgers saying “he (Griffiths) looked good in training” on Friday morning.
Stuart Armstrong, who I have been very impressed with this campaign, will surely start in his new central role. His goal at Kilmarnock last Friday night was enough to give the Hoops all three points in their last league outing.
“I want us to make sure people look back on this period and say this was a team that always put itself in a position to win trophies. We made it clear at the start of the season that our objective is to win trophies and we’re 90 minutes away from that now.” – Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes.
“It will be a very tough game. Celtic are the form team in Scotland and they have been there many times before. We go into the game quietly confident, but so will they. It should make for a great game. – Aberdeen defender Mark Reynolds.
“It’s a bit boring and cliched but we have just been trying to bring out best in to every game and Sunday will be no different. There is no more or less intensity for us. We go in to every game looking to play hard and it will be the same at Hampden.” – Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers.
I am very excited about it – the first final to be involved in with Celtic. So it’s the first chance to get a bit of silverware in the form of a cup, so I am looking forward to it.” – Celtic midfielder Stuart Armstrong.