Hibs star Matt Doherty today claimed Hearts would have been the dream draw in the semi-final of the William Hill Scottish Cup – but he’ll happily settle for Aberdeen.
The Easter Road side were the first to claim a place in the final four as they avoided a potentially difficult match against giant-killing Ayr United by seeing off the First Division outfit with goals from Roy O’Donovan and Leigh Griffiths.
The victory set up the mouthwatering prospect of an all- Edinburgh semi with Hearts still in the competition following their 2-2 draw with St Mirren, but it vanished as the draw pitched Hibs against the Dons while Paul Sergio’s players will face treble-chasing Celtic should they beat the Buddies in next week’s replay.
Doherty admitted he’d been one of those hoping for the Jambos at Hampden in the middle of next month, the on-loan Wolves defender saying: “It would have been the dream draw to be honest.
“I’m sure the atmosphere would have been amazing, a sell-out crowd with more than 50,000 fans.”
Aberdeen clinched their semi-final berth with a 2-1 win over Motherwell at Fir Park and although they sit ten points and three places above Hibs in the SPL table, Doherty insisted Pat Fenlon’s players will by no means be the underdogs.
Only that controversial Scott Vernon penalty at Pittodrie – Dons kid Peter Pawlett later being hit with a two-match ban for diving – has separated the teams in 270 minutes of League football with both clashes in Edinburgh ending in goal-less draws. Doherty said: “There’s definitely the feeling we can go all the way to the final. We drew with Aberdeen only a few weeks ago. This time it’s on a neutral ground, no-one has home advantage. It’s going to be a great occasion for us, we’ll be up for it as I am sure they will be.”
Before then, though, Dublin-born Doherty hopes he and his team-mates will be in a far more comfortable position as their battle to avoid relegation continues this weekend with a trip to Gorgie for the third Capital derby of the season.
He said: “I’m sure we’ll talk about the Cup for a couple of days but then it will be forgotten as we build up for Sunday. We have to forget all about Hampden and concentrate on getting on a run of results which will take us further away from Dunfermline.”
Meanwhile, Hibs’ Under-19 side defeated Dundee United at St Andrews thanks to a goal from Sam Stanton.