Aberdeen 1-2 Hibernian

By Clive LindsayBBC Scotland
Highlights - Aberdeen 1-2 Hibernian

Leigh Griffiths' late goal gave Hibernian a victory over Aberdeen that keeps alive their dream of ending a 110-year wait to win the Scottish Cup.

Garry O'Connor stabbed Hibs into a third-minute lead from close range and the Edinburgh side deservedly went into the break with their lead intact.

Rory Fallon's fantastic, looping volley squared the game after 59 minutes as reward for the Dons' response.

But Griffiths slotted the semi-final winner with five minutes remaining.

The late strike from the on-loan Wolves striker born a stone's throw from Hibs' Leith home sets up a 19 May final against either nighbours Hearts or holders Celtic, who play at Hampden on Sunday.

Hibs' first win over Aberdeen in five meetings delivered more cup misery on the Pittodrie side, who have not won at Hampden for 12 years.

Grifiths and O'Connor help celebrate the latter's opening goal at Hampden
Grifiths and O'Connor help celebrate the latter's opening goal at Hampden

Both sides had gone into the game looking to reach their first Scottish Cup final in more than a decade.

With Lewis Stevenson suspended, Hibs manager Pat Fenlon brought Jorge Claros into midfield as he looked to build on two unbeaten games that have eased their relegation fears in the Scottish Premier League.

The Dons were without cup-tied midfielder Gavin Rae and, despite last week's fine 3-1 win over Dundee United, manager Craig Brown went with the physical presence of Rory Fallon instead of the speedy Darren Mackie up front.

Kari Arnason also came into the starting line-up and the midfielder, so impressive for much of the season, was found wanting as Hibs went ahead after a lively start by the Edinburgh side.

The Icelander stood motionless as the ball broke to O'Connor after an Isaiah Osbourne drive was charged down.

When Mark Reynolds blocked Leigh Griffith's shot and the ball broke wide for Pa Saikou Kujabi, Arnason and Andrew Considine both failed to pick up O'Connor as the striker steered home the full-back's low cross.

It was a poor bit of defending all round, with goalkeeper Jason Brown failing to cover the near post with his body never mind glory, although television replays suggested O'Connor had been offside.

Interview - Hibernian manager Pat Fenlon

Few goals had been expected with the three league meetings between the sides this season having produced one goal - and that a controversial penalty scored by Dons striker Scott Vernon.

Hibs were first to the loose ball and, when James McPake stepped out of defence to find Leigh Griffiths with a pass through the centre, the striker sent a 20-yard snap shot a few yards wide.

The Dons had more possession and there were muted claims for a penalty when Considine was clipped by Paul Hanlon following a corner, but generally they were laboured in their build up.

Aberdeen boss Brown made a switch at half time, bringing on Fraser Fyvie for mis-firing fellow Scotland Under-21 midfielder Ryan Jack.

The Dons immediately looked more lively and Considine sent a powerful 15-yard header straight at goalkeeper Graham Stack from Stephen Hughes' curling free-kick.

Interview - Aberdeen manager Craig Brown

Aberdeen levelled in style when Fallon controlled the ball on his chest 25 yards from goal before looping a volley over Stack's head.

Stack had to be replaced with Mark Brown after 72 minutes as the Hibs goalkeeper picked up a leg injury and the replacement was tested by a low drive from Dons substitute Mackie.

Griffiths fired against the outside of the near post with a low drive when the Hibs striker would have been better shooting across the goalkeeper.

However, when the striker was put through on goal by a neat O'Connor pass, he showed the composure to this time roll the ball into the far corner from 12 yards.

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