Morton goalkeeper insists avoiding Old Firm does not make Aberdeen semi-final any easier



Morton goalkeeper Andy McNeil insists avoiding the Old Firm in the Betfred Cup has not made their bid to reach the final any easier.

Jim Duffy’s team will go up against Aberdeen on October 22 at Hampden, while Celtic and Rangers lock horns in the other semi-final.

McNeil played his part in Tuesday’s 2-1 quarter-final victory over Dundee United and is dreaming of getting his hands on the trophy for a second time, nine years after Hibs lifted silverware under John Collins.

andymcneilBut the 29-year-old insists beating Derek McInnes’ Aberdeen is as big a task as overcoming the two Glasgow clubs.

He said: “The obvious thing that people say is avoid Celtic and Rangers, because of the names of the clubs, but Aberdeen have been the second best team in Scotland for a number of years and are looking very strong.

“At the moment I wouldn’t say there’s much of a difference between them and Rangers. The teams are all very similar.

“A lot of the boys are Celtic and Rangers fans and depending on who they support, they probably would have liked one of the Old Firm teams.

“Some of the boys played against Celtic in the cup last year and Rangers in the league so they’re quite excited to be going up against Aberdeen.

“They’re all tough and I don’t think it would have made too much difference who we played, we’re going to have to play out our skins and have a little bit of luck.

“It’s a great opportunity and will hopefully be a great day.”

McNeil was part of the Hibs side that thrashed Kilmarnock 5-1 in the League Cup final in 2007 and the experienced shot-stopper insists there is no better feeling than lifting silverware, regardless of the competition.

He added: “I think with these things, people make excuses. Even with the Challenge Cup, they say: ‘It’s a diddy cup’.

“I can assure you, if you won it all your fans would turn up, you would have a good party afterwards.

“Even for the top clubs, it doesn’t happen every year that they win things so I think that’s a deflection. People will say: ‘It’s a rubbish cup’, or managers will say they’ll have less fixtures to worry about.

“I don’t think any supporter would turn down the chance to go to Hampden for a cup final and win a trophy.

“I think they’re all a big deal and if you won any of them, you’d celebrate like you had won the World Cup.”