It does not get much harder to take than this. After a weekend of shocks in the world of sport Aberdeen was within 20 seconds of getting through to the semi finals of the Scottish Cup but Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink slid home a Samaras cross with what was virtually the last kick of the ball in a pulsating cup tie.
The Dons produced an outstanding performance and Jeffrey de Visscher gave them a deserved lead on 78 minutes after a superb move with Scott Severin and Lee Miller. Boruc had kept Celtic in the game and produced a great save from Severin in the 88th minute. At the other end Soutar was in similar form and was deservedly voted the Sky Sports Man of the Match however he could do nothing about the last gasp equaliser.
Jimmy Caldwerwood was forced into two changes from the side that had played at Ibrox. The suspended Barry Nicholson was replaced Karim Touzani and the injuried Steve Lovell was replaced by the fit again Jamie Smith.
The Dons started the game brightly and took the game to Celtic who looked more than a little bit off the pace after their Champions League defeat in midweek. Lee Miller started up front with his latest strike partner, Chris Maguire, and the two of them gave the Celtic defence a few problems. After only three minutes they combined with Maguire doing well down the left and playing in a great cross which Miller blasted home but the referee ruled it out for offside. Probably just about the correct decision.
A couple of minutes later Touzani did well to win the ball from O'Dea, who was a late replacement for Lee Naylor, and put Maguire in. Unfortunately Chris fired his shot wide. Maguire and Miller continued to be a nuisance for the Celtic back four. After 20 minutes Severin took a quick throw to Touzani who found his fellow Dutchman de Visscher. He cut the ball back but Jamie Smith was just stretching too much and his header never threatened Boruc.
Celtic then responded with a number of chances as they finally came to life. On 21 minutes a McGeady cross was tapped in by McDonald but he was also offside. A minute later a poor Zander pass put McDonald in who set up Nakamura but he thankfully blasted over. Then the Japanese golden boy crossed for McDonald who hit the post, Soutar made a great save from the rebound and Severin cleared.
Sadly on the half hour mark Aberdeen suffered a major blow as Smith had to leave the field with an injury. Jamie looked upset as he was replaced by Aluko. 33 minutes and Sno was penalised for a foul on his fellow countryman Touzani. De Visscher took a quick free kick and found Miller and his shot from 25 yards flow just over.
On 41 minutes Aberdeen had a major let off. Vennegoor of Hesselink hit the post with a header with Soutar beaten. As the ball came back off the post McDonald some how fluffed his shot with the goal wide open. On the stroke of half time Aluko was careless with a back pass but Soutar did very well to clear the ball and once again Aberdeen survived.
After a enthralling first half the second period started off exactly the same. Nakamura found Hartley on the right. His low cross was just missed by the sliding Vennegoor of Hesselink. 52 minutes and McGeady for about the first time in the game beats Maybury but his deep cross was headed over by Hesselink. Both full backs, Maybury and Foster had fine games throughout and helped prevent too many crosses coming over - an area of the game which has caused the Dons problems all season.
53 minutes and McManus was booked for scything down Maguire after the youngster had left him for dead. Two minutes later McGeady broke down the left and crossed. Hesselink let it run to Nakamura who shot but it was well saved by Soutar. Just before the hour mark Soutar again came to the Dons rescue. The keeper came to punch a Nakamura corner but failed to clear his lines. Sno hit a pile driver back towards goal but Derek did brilliantly to readjust his position and palm the shot out. McManus then picked up the rebound but his weak volley was gratefully grasped by Soutar. A couple of minutes later Nakamura again had a few kick from 30 yards but in a more dangerous position. Although his effort beat the wall and was on target it was comfortably saved by Soutar. At this point you were beginning to start thinking it might be our day.
Aberdeen then came back into the game. Severin and the impressive Touzani grabbed hold of the midfield again. On 65 minutes Aluko had a good run down the left, played a one two with Maguire and won a corner. From the resulting de Visscher corner Diamond rose brilliantly to head the ball towards goal. Boruc for once was beaten but Hinkel just managed to knock the ball off the line. Disappointment for the RedArmy, especially for those of us who had put £10 on him to score the first goal at 40-1! Aberdeen kept up the pressure though and at this stage were well on top as Celtic struggled to get out of their half. A good cross into the box was punched clear by Boruc but the ball only fell as far as Maguire whose powerful shot just went wide. Aberdeen continued to press. McManus was penalised in an aerial duel with Miller (about the only time all afternoon he was penalised) Aluko took the free kick but he blasted well over. 71 minutes. Aluko's cross was only half cleared and it fell enticingly for Maguire but he dragged his left foot shot wide.
A worried Gordon Strachan then made two changes. Samaras replaced McDonald and shortly after Donati replaced Sno.
On 74 minutes there was great interplay involving Severin, Maybury, Maguire and de Visscher. As the ball fell to Maybury in the box, McManus stepped in but cleared the ball straight to Aluko. The Englishman then hit a rocket of a shot towards goal from 20 yards but Boruc did really well to turn the ball over the bar. However four minutes later Aberdeen got what they deserved. A goal. And what a good goal it was. Aluko played the ball into Severin. Miller on the edge of the box then fed in de Visscher who coolly slotted the ball home. Pittodrie erupted.
Celtic responded. Hartley picked the ball up 25 yards out. His shot seemed to be going wide but with Soutar scrambling across his goal the ball hit the post.
Aberdeen continued to dominate the possession though and had a number of good chances to grab a second. 87 minutes and a Aluko corner was headed on by Diamond. The ball was blocked but fell to Severin who hit a great low drive that Boruc did really well to get down to. From the resulting corner their was an almighty scramble. Diamond again won the header, Boruc just pushed the ball up in the air and Considine and Miller both could have put the ball home but some how it did not cross the line.
The referee had indicated that there would be two minutes of injury time, yet it was into the third minute when Celtic won a dubious free kick 30 yards out. Boruc even came up to join the attack. Aberdeen had a number of chances to clear it but the ball was won back and slid wide to Samaras. His measured low cross allowed Vennegoor of Hesselink to slide in behind Considine and put the ball under Soutar. The relief from the Celtic team was clear to see as the bench empty on the park.
As I said. It does not get much harder to take than this.
Aberdeen: Soutar, Maybury, Considine, Diamond, Foster, De Visscher, Severin, Touzani, Jamie Smith (Aluko 31), Miller, Maguire. Subs Not Used: Langfield, Mair, Bus, Walker.
Celtic: Boruc, Hinkel, Caldwell, McManus, O'Dea, Nakamura, Hartley, Sno (Donati 77), McGeady, McDonald (Samaras 72), Vennegoor of Hesselink. Subs Not Used: Mark Brown, Pressley, Riordan.
Ref: Charlie Richmond