A CRAZY last four minutes of extra-time rescued Aberdeen’s season last night as a flurry of late goals knocked Kilmarnock out of the Scottish Cup after a seesaw 120 minutes. 

Derek McInnes’ side had side rescued the tie just two minutes from the 90-minute mark when an Andrew Considine goal hauled them level and took the game into extra time. Even then, Nicke Kabamba thought he had done enough to win the game for Kilmarnock when he netted the Ayshire’s side third of the night with as many minutes remaining only for two quick goals – a Sam Cosgrove penalty and a Connor Johnson own-goal - to tee up a quarter-final tie for Aberdeen against St Mirren.

“I had my five penalty takers sorted and there was Andy Considine running down the line like Ryan Giggs,” said McInnes.

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“Time is against him to life another trophy but if someone deserves a second, he does. It was a big break for us, no doubt about it, but it was no more than they deserved. You see 1200 supporters celebrate with players as one and we have needed that connection. It is as if we have lit a fire under our season.

“It was such an important and brilliant night for us but it was harsh on Kilmarnock. You don’t play a game like that without both teams deserving credit. I am delighted and we have a quarter-final to look forward to next Saturday.”

If extra-time added spice and drama, the opening stages hadn’t come close to suggesting the drama that was to come with the five extra-time goals. An overhead kick from Mohamed El Makrini had given Kilmarnock the lead going into the break but other than that it had been a fairly subdued affair.

McInnes had shown his irritation with an insipid first-half showing when he overhauled his side by committing three subs at the break with Cosgrove, Shay Logan and Dean Campbell introduced at the expense of Craig Bryson and Dylan McGeouch.

Aberdeen were much more purposeful but it was Kilmarnock who had the best two chances of the second period with Eamonn Brophy spurning both; the striker directed one effort straight towards Joe Lewis and curled another well wide of the target. 

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The misses came back to haunt him when, just two minutes from time, Niall McGinn whipped in a pacey free-kick from the right with Considine stooping to get his head to the ball and direct it into the back of the net. On the cusp of the game heading into extra-time Cosgrove then powered a header off the crossbar as Aberdeen – and the game itself – burst into life. 

Two minutes into extra-time the Pittodrie side took the lead for the first time in the game with Kilmarnock’s defence left wide open. Curtis Main’s initial shot seemed to be parried by Rugby Park keeper Laeurentiu Branescu but spun in the air and with Kennedy in acres of unmarked space in the six-yard box, he had the simple task of nodding into the net.

Brophy then atoned for his earlier indiscretions when he curled in a free-kick past Lewis and then immediately after clipped the post with a swirling effort.

As the game headed towards penalties there was drama; Ross Millen’s cross came off Mikey Devlin and although Lewis got a hand to parry the effort, Nicke Kabamba bundled the ball into the net. 

With just three minutes remaining, the game had much still to come as Kilmarnock allowed the game to slip from their grasp. Stuart Findlay’s foul on Lewis Ferguson saw Sam Cosgrove slam home the leveller from the spot before Considine’s ball into the box was inadvertently deflected into his own net by Johnson.

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“It’s hard to put it into words,” said a weary Alex Dyer after the game.

"We had the game sewn up and we threw it away. We got to a point where the game was won and we made bad decisions at key moments. We were cruising and then a moment of madness and we are out.”