Celtic handed Aberdeen test

  • Last Updated: December 2 2013, 18:21 GMT

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes vowed to relish their William Hill Scottish Cup clash at Celtic Park despite getting the most difficult draw of the fifth round.

Celtic will face Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup.
Celtic will face Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup.

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Aberdeen will face the holders on the weekend of February 8-9 in what will be a further test of their improvement since McInnes took charge in April.

The game is the tie of the round with Rangers later drawn out to face Dunfermline or Ayr and in-form Dundee United given a home tie against St Mirren or Queen of the South.

Celtic demolished Hearts 7-0 in the fourth round on Sunday but Aberdeen came came close to grabbing a point at Parkhead the previous weekend before two late goals handed Neil Lennon's side a 3-1 win.

McInnes, whose side won 1-0 at Partick Thistle on Sunday, told www.afc.co.uk: "First things first, it is as tough a tie as we could have got - away to the favourites.

"We were looking for a home draw, I would have been happy with a home draw against most teams.

"We have not got that but what we have got is a terrific tie which we will still relish when the game comes around.

"For all the players, staff and supporters it is a great tie to be involved in and we will look forward it.

"We want to do well in both cup competitions and to do that we are going to have to beat the favourites and we are going to have to do it the hard way. Any team that is successful normally has to beat some good teams along the way.

"Most people will expect Celtic to get through against us but I think it is a good thing to go and take a challenge like this head on."

Aberdeen could be going into the game on a real high as they face St Johnstone in the League Cup semi-finals the previous weekend.

"It is important that you go into big games in good form," McInnes said. "Hopefully by then we will be doing well in the league and go into the game off the back of a good semi-final result the week before."

Celtic first-team coach Danny McGrain warned the Dons would have a real fight on their hand to ensure Celtic did not continue their quest to retain the trophy at Parkhead in the final on May 17.

The former Celtic skipper said: "It's a home draw, that's the main thing. Aberdeen came a couple of weeks back and that was a tough game.

"But we have played very well in the Scottish Cup and we want to keep that going at Celtic Park.

"No matter what we have got, we want to keep. If Aberdeen want to take it off us, they will need to fight very, very hard and play very, very well because we are going to keep it."

Neither Rangers nor Celtic were among the first five ties drawn out as former Old Firm striker Kenny Miller helped conduct the draw at Hampden and the tension surrounding the prospect of a Glasgow derby grew until Aberdeen's name came out.

And Rangers manager Ally McCoist was happy to be at Ibrox following his team's 2-0 win at Falkirk on Saturday.

"A lot of the boys were watching the draw and we were getting a bit twitchy about what might happen with a few ties to go," McCoist told his club's official website.

"All I asked of our former striker was a home tie and we're delighted he's given us that as it's with a team from the same division as us. I couldn't be any happier."

Elsewhere, Albion Rovers were rewarded for their shock win over Motherwell with a home draw against League One side Stenhousemuir.

Hibernian were drawn at home to Raith Rovers as they bid for a third consecutive final. Dumbarton will travel to Alloa, Inverness visit Clyde or Stranraer, and Brechin or Forfar will host St Johnstone.

Fifth round:

Alloa Athletic v Dumbarton
Clyde/Stranraer v Inverness
Hibernian v Raith Rovers
Albion Rovers v Stenhousemuir
Brechin/Forfar v St Johnstone
Celtic v Aberdeen
Dundee United v Queen of the South/St Mirren
Rangers v Ayr/Dunfermline

  • Ties to be played on February 8 and 9.


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