Aberdeen midfielder Funso Ojo has claimed that his side is getting close to beating Celtic, despite sitting 35 points behind the champions.
The Dons’ win against St Mirren coupled with Celtic’s success at St Johnstone has set up an intriguing Scottish Cup semi-final tie between the sides. The match will take place either on April 11th or 12th.
And it’s tricky to build a case up for Aberdeen. They haven’t beaten the Hoops in a meaningful game since February 2016. We’ve played 20 times since then, with their only win coming in May 2018 after Celtic had already won the league title (Fussball.Wettpoint).
Yet Ojo has made the bizarre claim that Aberdeen have proven that they’re getting closer to beating Celtic. Speaking to Aberdeen’s official website, the midfielder used two defeats to Celtic as his evidence.
“I feel like a lot of people are happy to have reached the semi-finals, but it is only the semi-finals. We want to aim for the final and we can be properly happy if then we go onto win it. For me being in the semi-finals is not a victory yet.
“The away game we had at Celtic; it was a good performance from us. We played well against them as well when we played them at home recently. That was a good performance.
“So I believe we are getting closer to beating them, hopefully that can be the case in the semi-final. It would be great to win a trophy with Aberdeen. I would have to keep my apartment here in Aberdeen for the rest of my life!”
History doesn’t favour Ojo’s claim
Belgian midfielder Ojo is quite entitled to feel his side is in with a chance. It’s a semi-final and there’s no point in Aberdeen dwelling on Celtic’s domestic cup record of 34 straight wins. They have to believe in their own strengths.
However, his evidence for why Aberdeen are getting closer to beating Celtic can easily be wiped away.
Let’s look through our entire era of dominance since Brendan Rodgers came in the door as an example. There have been several occasions when Aberdeen have put up a real fight in one game only to be on the receiving end of a heavy defeat in the next meeting.
In fact, Rodgers’ first trip to Pittodrie saw us only win 1-0 courtesy of a Tom Rogic goal. In the next game we hammered them 3-0 in the League Cup final. In the same season, Aberdeen battled well and lost narrowly in a 1-0 defeat at Parkhead. Three months later we went to Pittodrie and were 3-0 up inside 11 minutes.
Even as recently as last season, our first three meetings with Aberdeen ended in one-goal victory margins for the Hoops. One particular memorable battle was the 4-3 ding-dong win at Pittodrie. Aberdeen then managed a draw at Parkhead before being mauled 3-0 in the Scottish Cup semi-final.
The point is that just because Aberdeen have been losing narrowly to us this season, it doesn’t mean they’re closing in on something historic. Coming close to getting a draw is a lot easier than actually defeating this Celtic side, and history proves that.
Again, you can’t blame Ojo for being optimistic about the cup semi. But are Aberdeen getting closer? History suggests there’s nothing to support it.