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Friday 26th October 2018

Betfred Cup

Semi-final preview in numbers

Resident statto @splstats crunches some of the numbers ahead of Sunday’s Betfred Cup semi-finals…

4 – This season’s Betfred Cup semi-finals contain the four most successful clubs in the history of the competition. Between them, Rangers, Celtic, Aberdeen and Heart of Midlothian have won 54 of the 72 League Cup tournaments ever contested. Despite this success, this is actually the first time in over 40 years that the semi-final line-up has consisted of these four sides. That came back in the 1976/77 campaign, when Aberdeen defeated Rangers 5-1 and Celtic beat Hearts 2-1, before the Dons beat Celtic 2-1 in the final.

56 – Heart of Midlothian are the only semi-finalists who battled through the group stages of this competition – they topped Group C before beating Dunfermline Athletic and Motherwell in the knock-out stages. The Jam Tarts have won this trophy on four previous occasions, but manager Craig Levein wasn’t even born the last time they did it. Their last success came 56 years ago, in the 1962/63 season, when Tommy Walker’s side defeated Kilmarnock 1-0 in the final.

3 – Celtic are looking to win the Betfred Cup for the third consecutive season, for what would be their seventh domestic trophy in a row. It has been 30 years since a team won this trophy three times on the bounce – that was Rangers from 1986/87 to 1988/89. The only other side to achieve this feat was Jock Stein’s Celtic, who actually won it five times on the trot between 1965/66 and 1969/70. This will be Celtic’s third meeting with Heart of Midlothian in the League Cup semi-final – they beat them 2-1 in 1976/77 (as mentioned above) and 2-0 in 1977/78.

7 – Aberdeen defeated St Mirren and Hibernian to set up a Betfred Cup semi-final clash with Rangers at Hampden. The Dons have now made it to seven cup semi-finals in the last six seasons – four in the Betfred Cup and three in the Scottish Cup. Derek McInnes has three wins and three defeats in cup semi-finals with Aberdeen so far, with two of those wins coming in this competition (v St Johnstone in 2013/14 and v Morton in 2016/17). The Dons have not faced Rangers in a cup semi-final since the 1995/96 League Cup, when a Billy Dodds double handed them a 2-1 victory on the way to winning the trophy against Dundee.

7 – Rangers will be hoping to overcome Aberdeen in order to make it to their first Betfred Cup final for more than seven years. In March 2011 they beat Celtic 2-1 at Hampden thanks to an extra-time winner from Nikica Jelavic, having knocked out Motherwell in the semi-finals. Rangers are unbeaten in their last five matches against Aberdeen – they have picked up three wins and two draws against the Dons since the start of last season.