DELIGHTED Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes claimed he was confident his players would hold their nerve during last night’s penalty-kick shoot-out win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.

On-loan Newcastle keeper Freddie Woodman saved three spot-kicks as the Dons won 3-2 in the dramatic showdown following a 1-1 stalemate after extra-time.

The heroic shotstopper denied Eamonn Brophy, Greg Taylor and Greg Kiltie and Niall McGinn could afford to hit the bar as McInnes’ men clinched the tie with one penalty to spare.

The Pittodrie men will now face Motherwell at Hampden in the Scottish Cup semi-final on April 14.

Kenny McLean had kept the Dons in the contest from the spot after Stephen O’Donnell had given Killie the lead six minutes into the extra period.

McInnes revealed: “I said to the players, don’t buy into this ‘penalty-kicks are a lottery’. It’s about concentration, technique, confidence, mentality.

“The good thing for me, when I went over I had a list of five I wanted to take them. I was confident all five would score.

“There were probably seven or eight of my players wanted to be in that first five.

“There was nobody moonwalking to the back of the line. Well, there was one, but I’ll not mention him.

“But it shows the mentality. I think the experience of the team showed in that period.

“I said to the players: ‘Our keeper will save a couple, just concentrate and commit to wherever you want to stick it’.

“We dealt with that situation better and that’s the only thing that separated a very tough tie.”

The Dons will be without Shay Logan, Graeme Shinnie and McLean in the semi-final after all three picked up their second bookings of the tournament.

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About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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