Celtic have been given an early boost ahead of their Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen, with Graeme Shinnie suspended.
The Aberdeen midfielder picked up a booking against Rangers in their quarter-final win last night at Ibrox. The Dons took a 2-0 success from Govan in a heroic performance, just days after bagging a 0-0 draw at Celtic Park.
There wasn’t much that could’ve taken the shine off of their evening. But there was a slightly dark cloud hovering over them with regards to Shinnie’s suspension.
Heading into the game, Shinnie had already had one yellow card to his name. A foul on Rangers’ Ryan Kent meant he picked up his second of the competition. SFA rules state that teams that enter the competition after round three will see players miss out a match if they pick up two bookable offences.
It’s up in the air as to who could replace Shinnie. Dominic Ball could be shifted to midfield, or it could be Dean Campbell or Stephen Gleeson.
For Celtic, however, this is a massive boost. Aberdeen are losing the man that makes them tick. He’s a driving force and a real source of energy in this Aberdeen side.
The fact the Dons are losing him for the Hampden semi is a monumental blow for them. It makes it all the sweeter for Celtic fans too considering Callum McGregor, Olivier Ntcham, and Tom Rogic will all hopefully be back.
Celtic’s midfield should have too much
On paper, Celtic’s midfield should totally overrun Aberdeen’s at Hampden.
Of course, fans will have fancied their chances had Shinnie been playing anyway. But there’s no doubt his suspension weakens Aberdeen to a great extent. They have no natural replacement, and that could cost them dearly.
Aberdeen have a right to feel aggrieved. After all, Shinnie picked up both bookings in the same tie (Rangers). It seems harsh to lose a player just because he’s been booked twice, and it’s a rule the SFA could really do away with.
Considering the offences that merit yellow cards these days, it’s unfair on players. But, unfortunately for Aberdeen, they’ll have to deal with the hand they’ve been given.
Celtic will be clear favourites once again in another Hampden meeting with the Dons. But they have to turn up to make it a comfortable afternoon.
But without Shinnie that task just got a bit simpler.