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CIFTCI’S CUP KO FOR CHRISTIE

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NADIR CIFTCI won the battle of the loan Celts as Motherwell overcame Ryan Christie’s Aberdeen 3-0 in the Scottish Cup semi-final this afternoon.

Two goals from Curtis Main and one from Ryan Bowman flattened a dreadful Dons outfit and the Fir Park men await the outcome of the champions’ confrontation with Sevco Rangers to see who they meet in the the grand finale at Hampden on May 19.

Forgotten man Ciftci came on 12 minutes from time with Stephen Robinson’s men already coasting towards a well-deserved victory – the second time they have hammered Derek McInnes’ dismal Dons in a Cup competition after an identical triumph in the League Cup quarter-final.

If the Hoops deliver tomorrow it will set up a replay of this campaign’s League Cup Final which Brendan Rodgers’ men won 2-0 with goals from James Forrest and Moussa Dembele. The Frenchman’s killer effort came from the penalty spot after Cedric Kipre had been red-carded after hauling down Scott Sinclair.

It could a bit of flavour to what could be an engrossing confrontation – but, of course, Celtic will have to dodge a potential banana skin tomorrow to ensure they are on course for a historic double treble.

It was crackshot Main who who did the damage as the Fir Parkers surged towards a fabulous finish to the season.

The Fir Park side totally dominated a hesitant Dons team that fell apart under the dual threat of Main and the bustling Bowman in the first-half.

They got the opening goal in the 20th minute and the dodgy Pittodrie back-four deserve a rocket from shell-shocked manager McInnes.

Keeper Trevor Carson launched a long clearance down Well’s left-hand side and Dominic Ball struggled to deal with the thrust of left-back Richard Tait. Remarkably, the Dons defender stopped to claim handball, but referee Kevin Clancy waved play on.

That gave Tait time to deliver an inviting low cross into the box and predator Main pounced to turn the ball into the net from close range.

WELL’S MAIN MAN…striker Curtis Main slips the first behind the helpless Joe Lewis.

Three minutes later, the Pittodrie back lot were undone again in another simple move forward. Kari Arneson was too easily bowled over by Bowman who flicked the ball goalwards.

Joe Lewis stopped the shot, but couldn’t prevent the rebound heading straight back to the Well raider and this time he connected to send the ball rolling into the corner in slow motion.

Credit the Fir Parkers for their up-and-at-’em spirit, but Aberdeen’s rearguard furiously pressed the self-destruct bottom at two crucial moments in the game.

And Arneson completed his side’s misery with a sloppy clearance in the 66th minute that was seized upon by Main on the halfway line. There was nothing but fresh air between him and Lewis as he galloped forward.

The all-action attacker looked composed as he drove towards the box before firing a left-foot drive over the keeper’s right-hand shoulder into the net.

There was no to be no miraculous fightback from McInnes’ devastated outfit who can have no complaints about missing their chance of a second successive Scottish Cup Final.

Christie played well enough in a ragged Dons line-up and Ciftci can savour his 12 minutes of fame – but he will not be able to play in the Final against his parent club if, of course, Celtic win through.

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