Graeme Shinnie was always confident Bojan Miovski’s quality would count when he grabbed his chance to score Aberdeen’s winner in the Viaplay Cup semi-final against Hibernian on Saturday.
The Easter Road side edged a nondescript first half at Hampden Park and were denied an opener in the 49th minute when VAR, after a lengthy check, ruled forward Martin Boyle was offside before he had fired the ball past Dons keeper Kelle Roos and into the net.
It looked ominous for a hitherto lacklustre Aberdeen side when defender Jack MacKenzie was sent off by referee John Beaton in the 75th minute for picking up a second yellow card for a silly push on Hibs defender Lewis Miller.
However, it was North Macedonia international Miovski who struck three minutes later with his 10th goal of the season when he raced on to a pass from substitute Dante Polvara and drove past Hibs keeper David Marshall.
Aberdeen defended resolutely until the end of the regulation 90 minutes and through seven minutes of added time before their appearance in the December 17 final was confirmed by the final whistle.
Captain Shinnie, in his second permanent spell at the Granite City club, was “delighted” to get through.
He said: “It was a tough game, especially going down to 10 men but it shows great character from the boys to grind it out.
“We knew if we got one chance we needed to take it and if you wanted it to fall to anyone it would be Bojan, and he does brilliantly to score and as a team after that we defended magnificently, and I am absolutely delighted to be in the final.
“He has been doing that since I have been here, almost a year.
“He is a top player and we have a lot of top players in the team but like I said, if you wanted it to fall to anyone it would be him this season.
“He’s been in top form this season and then it takes a group effort to see the game out.
“I am delighted for everyone. It has been an up-and-down season so far, but this a real plus point for everyone and it gives us something to look forward to.”