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Alex McLeish expects Aberdeen to play with belief in semi-final against Celtic

Aberdeen v Celtic – Scottish Premiership – Pittodrie Stadium
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Former Aberdeen defender Alex McLeish believes the Dons will be “empowered” by their Pittodrie performance against Celtic when they meet the Hoops again on Sunday.

Aberdeen twice led against the champions over the weekend before Lewis Ferguson netted his second penalty to seal a 3-3 draw for the home side in stoppage-time.

Derek McInnes takes his Aberdeen troops to face Celtic at Hampden for the fifth time on Sunday, in the 2019-20 William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final, and he is still looking for his first triumph.

Celtic have got the better of Aberdeen in three finals during their 11-trophy run but McLeish feels his former club will be buoyed by the nature of their performance on Sunday.

McLeish, who was promoting Premier Sports’ coverage of the semi-final, said: “The result at the weekend and the way they played and scoring the late goal – normally Celtic score the late goal and have done over the years against them – that’s got to give them a lot of belief.

“Because it tells you they never stop until the final whistle and they definitely deserved at least a point. It has got to empower them, the performance at Pittodrie.

“Derek has unleashed a lot of the young ones up front and it’s the strongest I have seen the bench in recent years for the Dons. The substitutes came on and made a difference, Scott Wright came on and looked a real good player.

“Other young forwards are doing really well and the organisation of the defence and midfield, Ferguson seems to be growing in stature every year. I think the Dons have a good chance.”

McLeish, who won the Scottish Cup five times with Aberdeen, added: “They won’t go in with any fear this time. I think they will be really looking forward to it, although in fairness to the Old Firm, they don’t often go on a long run of dismal results, and they will bounce back at some time.

“Neil (Lennon) has yet to find a rhythm with a lot of the new players that have come in and he has lost three or four of his top players, and that does make a difference, there’s no doubt about it. It affects the rhythm of the team, as I have known many times.”