Yes, Celtic fans. You read the title correctly. Celtic have now made their exit from the Scottish Cup after a 1-0 loss to Aberdeen.
Celtic controlled most of the game and held most of the possesion, but Aberdeen's defenders played at their best. The Bhoys powered groups of shots at Aberdeens goal and had the Dons on their heels from the very beginning. The attacking began less than a minute in when Massimo Donati took a shot from over 25 yards away, quickly followed by a close header from Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink that only missed by inches and instead deflected over the bar.
Aberdeen didn't threaten until the 41st minute, but Stephen McManus quickly dove to stop a threatening cross from Aberdeen's Barry Nicholson. Celtic had largely controlled the first half, and though it ended 0-0, it seemed that a goal from Celtic would be arriving shortly.
It was not meant to be. Aberdeen came back from the break with more determination, and that determination finally paid off when Darren Mackie scored from 10 yards away in the 69th minute.
Without much time left for an equalizer, Shunsuke Nakamura, Donati, Vennegoor of Hesselink and sub Georgios Samaras all had shots on goal after Aberdeen took the lead, Shunsuke's being a free kick that was nearly missed by Aberdeen keeper Derek Soutar.
Sadly the equalizer never arrived, and Aberdeen will now head on to the semi-final to meet Queen of the South.
They say a picture says a thousand words...
Sadly, while Celtic could have easily scored three or four goals, they finished with none in a game that needed strong finishing from the Bhoys. We've seen it several other times this season, as sometimes they can put in five goals and other times they have trouble putting in any. Finishing can prove to be a dangerous enemy just as much as it can be a greatful friend, and the exposure of this fatal flaw will give other teams such as Rangers an insight of where they can stop Celtic. Their Achilles Heel this season.
So what now? Well the only competition that remains is the race for the Scottish Premier League. Celtic, after a 0-0 tie with Dundee United, will face Gretna, a team who have had their fair share of worries this month, on Sunday. Celtic are on a dry spell at the moment, winning their last game on March 1st, and hopefully can take the U-turn onto the right path this weekend.
Knowing Gordon Strachan, he will tell the media that his players really played well and it was a major disapointment failing to win the Scottish Cup this year, but deep down he knows there are still players on the bench (ie Derek Riordon (who made an appearance against Aberdeen today), Evander Sno, Darren O'Dea, Barry Robson and even Ben Hutchington and Koki Mizuno) can easily fight their way to the first team. The first team starters know this as well and will hopefully pick up their game, at least we hope.
Celtic are 3 pts behind leaders (Ohhh, the) Rangers (are ****) with one more game played over them, so it's going to take a big effort from our bhoys to pull away with the crown. Though I hate considering losing as a positive, it will give the team more rest that it needs to get three vital points from every last and final game from here to the end of the season, the game against the Huns being the most pivotal.