Click here to go back to the AFC Heritage Trust Homepage Aberdeen Football Club Heritage Trust Logo  
AFC - Match Report
match report 1938-39 fixture list
Scottish Cup Semi Final 
Aberdeen 1 - 1 Motherwell
Kick Off:    Warnock 35.       Mathie 70  
Attendance: 81,756
Venue: Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow



SYD NICHOLSON, the Dons' captain and centre-half, is the most talked-of player in Scotland at the moment. He made one mistake in the semi-final against Motherwell at Ibrox Park on Saturday, and it was fatal.

Aberdeen took the lead after thirty-five minutes' play as the result of a goal by Warnock, and they held it until twenty minutes from the end.
Then came the tragic equaliser. A high loose ball came in the direction of Nicholson. He made to trap it, but failed to bring the ball under control at the first attempt. He appeared to have plenty of time to recover, but momentarily lost his poise and passed back short to the 'keeper. Up came Mathie, the Motherwell centre, like a flash, and the ball went whizzing into the net.
Nicholson has all my sympathy. He was the man who stood out in the Aberdeen defence - the best player afield; the hero and the villain. If you had seen the horrified expression on his face as Mathie sent the ball into the net! He turned away, threw his hands over his face and bent almost double. And this had to happen the best player of the twenty-two! The Dons will make a second attempt on Wednesday at Ibrox Park, and I think they will succeed. If they do get through the Cup is as good as in Aberdeen, for I'm confident they can beat Clyde.


Many people thought that a draw was the right result to Saturday's game. Perhaps they are correct, but my idea was that but for that defensive slip Motherwell would never have scored. Con- too, that the only period of the game when they could claim any superiority was after they had equalised and that Aberdeen finished with only nine fit men, and the Dons' prospects in the replay look quite bright.
Aberdeen were the better side in the first half. They had the team sense better developed than the Motherwell players, and with more " devil " at close quarters they would have held more than a single goal lead at the interval. Motherwell did not get into their stride until they secured the equalising goal.
Let tell you about Aberdeen's goal. It was a well-conceived move, carried through with skill and dispatch. Hamilton did the leading up work and parted to Strauss. The South African trailed the ball past Wales and crossed. In dashed Warnock at top speed to meet the ball first time and it passed under Murray and into the net.


An injury to Biggs before the interval upset the balance of the Dons' attack. He and Strauss changed places. Then near the end Pattillo had his leg injured and finished the game crippling at outside-right.
Pattillo was Aberdeen's most dangerous forward. There's nothing crafty about the former Aberdeen junior, but he is a real go-getter. He is always on top of the opposing defence and the very unorthodoxy of his methods makes him difficult to hold in check.
Until he was injured Biggs put in a tremendous amount of work. He was back assisting in defence one minute and up in attack the next. When he went on the wing he lost his usefulness. Too often he shot for goal when he should have crossed. Strauss, too. lost his effectiveness when he took over the inside-left berth. Before that the South African had been a menace to the Motherwell defence. From the inside position he was too prone to hit the ball as it came to him when a little steadiness might have made all the difference between success and failure.

HAMILTON BEST Hamilton did many brilliant things and he did some foolish things, but he was the most skilful inside forward afield. Warnock played a hard game at outside-right. He was opposed to a strong, robust player in Ellis, but he never flinched.
Aberdeen were well served at half-back. Thomson and Dunlop were strong tacklers and quick in recovery. The left half was the more consistent player. Cowie vied with Ellis as the best back of the four. He was no more effective than Ellis, but he was certainly more polished. Adey played hard throughout and Johnstone, in goal, did what little he had to do cleanly and confidently.
Motherwell's defence tried to employ the offside trap, but the Dons had heard all about it and refused to fall into it. The Fir Park team had a grand back in Ellis, but Strauss gave Wales a lot of trouble while he was on the wing.
Blair did a power of good work at centre half, and M Kenzie was a progressive wing half. Mathie was the best of the forwards, but Nicholson saw to it that he was allowed little scope. Ogilvie. on the right, was dangerous at times, but Stevenson, the schemer-in-chief of the 'Well attack, was seldom seen to advantage.

Source: Press & Journal, 27th March 1939




Aberdeen players returned to Dunblane Hydro immediately after Saturday's game, and they will remain there until Wednesday morning. Training equipment was taken from Pittodrie to Dunblane by car yesterday, and the Aberdeen club has accepted the offer of Dunblane Rovers F.C. to use their ground for training purposes.
A "Press and Journal" representative got in touch with Mr Halliday, the Aberdeen manager, by 'phone yesterday, and learned that both Pattillo and Biggs were suffering from injuries. The centre received a knock on the leg, and Biggs has a stomach injury. At the moment it is not known whether or not they will be fit for the replay.
Aberdeen Teamsheet:  Johnstone, Cowie, Adey, Dunlop, Nicholson, Thomson, Warnock, Hamilton, Pattillo, Biggs, Strauss.

Unused Subs:


Motherwell Teamsheet:  Murray; Wales, Ellis; McKenzie, Blair, Telfer; Ogilvie, Bremner, Mathie, Stevenson, McCulloch


Referee: J. M. Martin, Ladybank

Related Links: