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Kilmarnock 1 - 2 Aberdeen

HT Score: Kilmarnock 1 - 1 Aberdeen

Scottish Cup Second Round
Kilmarnock scorers: Hamilton (pen) 26
Aberdeen scorers: Connon 15, Middleton 87.

05/02/1921 | KO:


Kilmarnock, the Cupholders, playing at home, were unexpectedly knocked out of the Scottish Cup competition by Aberdeen. Play was strenuous throughout, the visitors being, if anything the superior team. Connon scored first for Aberdeen after fifteen minutes' play. Ten minutes later Hamilton equalised from a penalty kick. In the second half both sides worked hard for supremacy, and the winning goal was scored by Macdonald only two minutes before the whistle was blown.

Source: The Scotsman, 7th February 1921


The most brilliant performance in the second round of the Scottish competition was that of Aberdeen, who in stirring game defeated Kilmarnock the cupholders, at Kilmarnock, by 2 goals to 1. They were few indeed who anticipated with any confidence that Aberdeen would even draw, let alone win, but once again a Pittodrie team confounded the prophets, and it can said they won on their merits. Grit, pluck, dash, stamina, and ability to adapt themselves to the requirements of the hour, these were the qualities which led to success which was as well played for as it was well deserved, and let it be said, Aberdeen gave a bright display of cup-tie football. As a cup-tie the game was all that was anticipated. Football is a recreation, but what a serious thing this was to the players. Solemn even to grimness, by them it was treated as something in the light of a "great adventure." It was a game in which the chance came to those took the risks, and in a great physical contest in which the principals neither spared themselves, nor their opponents, the Aberdeen players; took them, and earned their reward. The unquenchable spirit behind it was evident in the work of the Aberdeen team, and considering that they were at the disadvantage in regard to ground, and lacked the moral help of the home crowd they overcame all obstacles, and in the end were left the only surviving representatives of the north in the national cup competition.

Defence's Trying Time.

Eleven thousand voices shouted in exultation when Hamilton beat Anderson in the toss and the northerners were sent to defend against a strong sun which glared in their faces. The advantage to Kilmarnock of this was soon apparent, for in the opening stages it looked as if Aberdeen would provide an easy stepping-stone in their journey towards retaining the coveted trophy. Those early minutes proved a trying period for the Aberdeen defence, but it was a tribute to their ability and compliment to their physical fitness that they came through the ordeal with flying colours, although at the same time, had the cupholders' attack lived up to their reputation the issue must have been very nearly decided at this stage. The game was never lacking in incident, and those who can appreciate the thrills of football had them to their heart's content. Anderson had early to handle from a free kick given against Hannah, but his opening save was a pattern of his later display, and having found contact with the last line of Aberdeen's defence, the home side, literally goaded on by their supporters, maintained for a time persistent pressure. At this stage, however, where cool heads were required, the Kilmarnock attack had none. Their extreme wingers, and especially McPhail, made merry with the Aberdeen defenders in the distance, but at close range the inside forwards were overcome by the excitement of the moment, and their shooting suffered accordingly. Anderson had to fist out from Jackson's head, and Hutton, Hannah, and Wright chipped in opportunely when Culley and Smith were in the act shooting. Aberdeen vainly appealed for offside when McPhail got away, but Wright's head saved the situation at the cost of an unfruitful corner. Swinging tactics brought Aberdeen relief, and Flanaghan ran the ball behind for Aberdeen's first bye after nine minutes. Then Hutton had a terrific free kick blocked on front of the Kilmarnock goal. Wright and MacLachlan were outstanding in the Aberdeen defence at this time, and a pretty constructive move by Wright and Grosert earned applause, until Macdonald fell a victim to the offside bogey. There were more thrills at the Aberdeen end. Cully's shot for goal went nearer the corner-flag, but Jackson intercepted, and his centre was missed by colleagues and opponents alike until Hutton got his boot behind a big clearance. Middleton centred finely, but Macdonald was again given offside, and at the end of fourteen minutes, although the play had been exciting, each goalkeeper had only one bye-kick.

Connon's Fine Goal.

Only another minute had gone when Aberdeen took the lead. Middleton got a ball into the centre, and sent it against Hamilton. Both players fell on the ground, and while they were struggling for possession Hamilton pushed the ball away, and Connon, seeing his chance, pounced upon it in an instant to bang it into the net. The Aberdeen supporters present made themselves heard, and the northern accent was strong in the subsequent plaudits. Following upon this success, Aberdeen never looked back, and although their goal was frequently in danger, they played with the confidence of a combination who knew they could win. The rear lines had often to live up to the high reputation the Aberdeen defence has earned this season, and they did it worthily, but they got every assistance from the men in front. When McPhail shot wide another Kilmarnock hope was gone, and Hannah blasted still another when he charged down Smith in the act of shooting. Gradually the Aberdeen forwards struck their game, and a fine opening out play by Connon brought the Kilmarnock goal in danger. In an attempt to convert Middleton's cross, Macdonald headed past when Hillcoat came out to meet him, and then Flanaghan shot into the goalkeeper's hands from near the touch line. Anderson was not neglected, and after failing to save a corner off a colleague, scooped the ball away from Jackson, and Hamilton had a long shot which went over. Later he fielded a long ball from Walker and fisted away a centre by McPhail with several forwards in attendance.

Kilmarnock Draw Level.

Kilmarnock got level at the end of 26 minutes. In attempting to clear a cross from McPhail, Wright played the ball against his hand, and a penalty kick was awarded. The Aberdeen players protested strongly, but referee Allan was adamant. Hamilton took the kick, and gave Anderson no option. For few minutes it looked as if Kilmarnock would take the lead, but the Pittodrie defenders were undaunted and when McPhail missed no second opportunity was presented to him. Connon and Macdonald never failed to worry the Kilmarnock rear divisions, and after good work by them Flanaghan shot over when well placed; then Ramsay shot wide, and Connon just failed to overtake a great return by Hutton. Aberdeen for period kept play in Kilmarnock territory. Flanaghan several times beat Hamilton in easy fashion, but again his direction was at fault in his shooting. MacLachlan and Wright were brilliant in the Aberdeen defence, and Connon was the best forward on the field. Hannah saved the situation for Aberdeen when Culley was through. With the pace at which the game was contested fouls were fairly numerous, and the referee had to interfere when J. Smith lost his temper with MacLachlan. Just on the interval both goals were in danger. Flanaghan had a shot blocked after Middleton had crossed, and later Middleton had an effort from long range. Just before the whistle went Anderson had to leave his goal to field a ball which bounced in front of the centre forward.
Summed up, the interval score was a fair reflection of what the game was worth but in respect that their goal was the outcome of a doubtful penalty, Kilmarnock were fortunate to be on level terms, as otherwise they never looked like scoring against a defence which for soundness and breezy robustness was ahead of the corresponding department in the home team.

Second Half Thrills.

The second half fulfilled all expectations of what was looked for of two teams with such reputations as stayers. It was a hard, gruelling, and even grim struggle, in which the players never spared themselves. They began as they left off but Aberdeen were the first to impress. Hillcoat stopped a shot from Middleton close to the post and then Macdonald shot after harassing work by Connon. Wright took the eye with fine opening out work, and Anderson later had to field a long free kick by Gibson for a foul by Hannah. Playing cup-tie football, and slamming the ball about, Aberdeen repeatedly threatened danger. A high centre by Middleton found the top of the crossbar, and for a time it was only the adoption of offside tactics that saved the Kilmarnock goal. As it was Hillcoat was not idle and had to save from Middleton. At the other end Hutton held up Smith when about to shoot, and then Wright tested Hillcoat with an overhead kick, near the touchline. The excitement continues intense, and it was apparent that nerves were affecting some of the Players. A tremendous drive by Hamilton was finely saved by Anderson, who later left his goal to clear from a crowd of players.

Anderson Injured.

A weak pass back by MacLachlan caused Anderson to throw himself at Ramsay?s feet when that player seemed to have the goal at his mercy. The keeper saved, but had his left arm hurt in the collision. He was able, however, to continue after treatment. The Aberdeen forwards were repeatedly at a loss to circumvent offside tactics of the home defence, but they fully held their own. Connon had a grounder saved by Hillcoat and J. R. Smith at the other end headed past. Macdonald rushed the Kllmarnock defence for his team's first and only corner, but Flanaghan sent behind. Anderson saved finely from Jackson, and later he ran out to clear from Ramsay and Smith. A centre by Middleton was headed weakly bv Macdonald for Hillcoat to save.

The Winning Goal.

Three minutes from the end Rankine caught up a clearance from Anderson, and although harassed by opponents he carried the ball well up field, and crossed to the right. Middleton got possession and after a duel with Hamilton had his shot knocked down by Hillcoat. The ball came to Macdonald, and that player found the net in easy from close range, for Aberdeen to retire worthy winners, and qualify for the third round.

Players Who Excelled.

All the winners acquitted themselves like the heroes they were. It would be difficult to correctly estimate the value of their performance, but certain it is that with maintenance of such form and repetition of such tactics, in cup-ties at least, they will take an immensity of stopping in the competition. Wholeheartedness, spirit and determination had much to do with the result, but the matter of tactics was a big factor. If the major share of the credit was due to the defence for their superb work, the forwards too are deserving of praise for their contribution to the satisfactory result obtained. Fearless, unhesitating tackling and first-time shooting and hefty kicking, these were the characteristics of the defence. Ability to swing the ball, keep the game open, rush and harass the opposition, and shoot on the few opportunities presented, these were the dualities which marked the forward display. 0n the Aberdeen side all contributed their share to a meritorious performance. In the defence, Anderson, Hannah, MacLachlan and Wright were outstanding, MacLachlan being the best half-back on the field. A. R. Grosert touched his best form in the second half. All the forwards were nippy and thrustful, and the inclusion of Connon and Macdonald added elements of weight and dash which moved for success. Connon was the best forward on the field, and Rankine, after a moderate display in the half, gave of his best later. Middleton and Flanaghan too, adapted themselves well the circumstances, especially in the second period. Macdonald led the attack with vigour, but fell an easy victim of the offside tactics of the opposition. On the Kilmarnock side, Hillcoat did well in goal, although he was slightly at fault for the winning goal. Gibson was ahead of Hamilton at back, and Neave was the best of the half-backs. In a forward line which paid the penalty of playing too closely McPhail and Ramsay were best. Culley and Smith failing to live up to their reputations.

Source: Aberdeen Daily Journal 7th February 1921

Kilmarnock Teamsheet
Hillcoat; Hamilton, Gibson; Goldie, Walker, Neave; Jackson, Ramsay, J. R. Smith, Culley, McPhail
Attendance: 11,000
Venue: Rugby Park, Kilmarnock
Referee: A. Allan, Glasgow
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20 Jul 2024 / 15:00 / K-Park Training Academy, East Kilbride