Aberdeen must 'handle Hampden' for Hibs semi-final - Willie Miller

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes
McInnes is bidding to take Aberdeen to their first Scottish Cup final since 2000
Scottish Cup: Hibernian v Aberdeen
Date: Saturday, 22 April Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Kick-off: 12:15
Coverage: Watch on BBC One Scotland and online; listen on BBC Radio Scotland and online; live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Aberdeen must show they can "handle Hampden" in Saturday's Scottish Cup semi-final with holders Hibernian, says club hero Willie Miller.

The Dons have won just two of their past 11 visits to the national stadium since winning the League Cup in 1995 and last won the Scottish Cup in 1990.

"I have no doubts about the attributes and quality of the side Derek McInnes has put together," said Miller.

"But they have to prove they can play to their potential on the big stage."

Championship winners Hibs will be making their ninth Hampden visit in five years, having won four and lost four of those previous trips.

Aberdeen are preparing for their fifth semi-final in the four full seasons manager McInnes has been at the helm, with their 2014 League Cup triumph coming at Celtic Park.

The Dons beat Morton at Hampden in the last four of this season's League Cup, only to be crushed 3-0 by Celtic on their return for the final.

"They weren't particularly good against Morton, it wasn't a sparkling performance," said Miller, who won the Scottish Cup four times as Aberdeen captain in the 1980s and managed the Dons from 1992-95.

"But playing the Old Firm in a final or a semi-final at Hampden is a completely different experience from playing anybody else and you have to handle it. I think that's the big question.

"Individually, they haven't performed at Hampden and this is a big test for them.

"If I go through the teams man for man, I believe Aberdeen are a better side. Derek McInnes has been fabulous; he has strengthened the team every year.

"For me, if Niall McGinn and Jonny Hayes turn up, then it's Aberdeen going to the final.

"But it's a difficult one to predict because Hibs did so well to lift the trophy. When you've got that experience it goes a long way. Aberdeen have still got to prove themselves."

Alan Stubbs was the man to lead Hibs to Scottish Cup glory last season, a last-minute goal from captain David Gray giving them a thrilling 3-2 victory over Rangers.

And the former manager believes Saturday's game could go to extra time like last year's semi-final with Dundee United, when goalkeeper Conrad Logan was the star in a penalty shoot-out.

Former Hibs boss Alan Stubbs with the Scottish Cup
Stubbs was the manager to end Hibs' 114-year wait for a third Scottish Cup success

"The teams are closely matched and I think the substitutes could play an important part," said Stubbs, who left for Rotherham after delivering the trophy only to be sacked by the English Championship outfit in October.

"It's about who deals best with the occasion.

"Whenever you go into these big games you want your big players to perform. It's crazy but they always have a habit of producing. It's not a coincidence, they have a knack.

"Last year's semi-final wasn't a great game, Dundee United probably had the better chances and Conrad was fantastic.

"In a semi-final you don't always need to play well. It's about doing enough to get through.

"You have to keep the players calm and you have to make them believe that they can win their individual battles. Every man needs to do their job. Concentration needs to be high, no sloppiness. That's not easy over 90 minutes.

Hibs, beaten finalists in 2012 and 2013, go into the match buoyed by sealing promotion last weekend and boast a record of just one defeat in 11 cup ties against top flight sides in the past two seasons.

"The fact the league is done now, means the focus turns to getting to the final," added Stubbs.

"But this will be the strongest Premiership team they have faced in that time. This is a stronger Aberdeen team than the one we beat [in the League Cup in September 2015].

"I make Aberdeen slight favourites but I could never rule my old team out."

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