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‘MISSING SEMI IS HORRENDOUS,’ SHINNIE

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BANNED Aberdeen skipper Graeme Shinnie believes his team-mates have the belief they can overcome holders Celtic in Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final encounter at Hampden.

The influential midfielder will watch the action from the stand after picking up two yellow cards in the quarter-final ties against Rangers.

He was booked in the 1-1 draw at Pittodrie and, unfortunately, was cautioned again late in the replay with Derek McInnes’ outfit coasting to a deserved 2-0 triumph.

Shinnie believes there should be more tolerance shown to players who have been involved in extra games, especially as a booking in last season’s replay against Kilmarnock proved equally costly.

That kept the Scotland international out of the 2018 semi-final against Motherwell which turned out to be one of the Dons’ most disappointing results of the campaign as they crashed 3-0 to the rampant Fir Parkers.

McInnes and his players must try to end the Hoops’ dominance of the domestic trophies as caretaker gaffer Neil Lennon hopes to lead the team to an unprecedented treble treble.

Shinnie, speaking to the Scotsman, said: “Missing another semi-final is horrendous. I missed a lot of league games through suspension last year, but league games are different.

“You can help the team recover some of the points if they lose those, but there’s no way back if you are banned for a Cup-tie.

FALL GUY…Graeme Shinnie hits the deck as Callum McGregor challenges in Celtic’s 1-0 League Cup Final success over Aberdeen in December. 

“In the case of this game against Celtic, you are either in a Final or out the Cup and I can’t influence it at all.

“I can’t remember how many games I’ve sat out in total, but seeing the team lose to Motherwell last year was the toughest one I’ve had to watch.

“Not that I was the only one as there was me, Kenny McLean and Shay Logan who were all suspended for last year’s semi.

“With it only being me this time it’ll probably help the team, but the ruling is harsh. I’ve had five games what with the two replays in previous rounds and two yellows ruling you out is a bit tough.

“But I’m confident the boys can get the win then, hopefully, I can get back in and lead them out in a Cup Final.”

Logan also misses out on Hampden because of injury this time, while former Celtic winger Gary Mackay-Steven is sidelined with an ankle problem.

Despite that, Shinnie is convinced there is enough talent in the squad to get the job done.

Shinnie added: “It’s a massive opportunity to get to another Final and the boys will be well up for it. All the results we’ve had in Glasgow against the Old Firm this season gives you that belief.

“It’s always tough going up against Celtic at Hampden, but it’s a game we know we can win if we play to our capabilities.

“The League Cup Final was a narrow game with not much in it and we drew at Celtic Park recently, so the belief is in the squad.

“It’s weird it’s Celtic in the semi-final like it was when I went on to win the Cup with Inverness a few years ago, but I hope it’s a good omen.

“I’d rather be playing, like I did for Caley Thistle that day, as it will be another hard one to watch, but I’m confident the boys can do it.”

 

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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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