Aberdeen Women co-manager Emma Hunter is hoping history repeats itself when they host Spartans in the fourth round of the Scottish Women’s Cup.
Back in 2019, in their first Scottish Cup run after becoming affiliated with Aberdeen FC, the Dons dumped the Edinburgh side out of the competition with a 2-1 win, courtesy of goals from Chloe Gover and Lauren Gordon.
It was a shock victory for Aberdeen as at the time they played their league football two tiers below Spartans, who played in the top flight.
This time around it will be an all-SWPL 1 clash, but co-boss Hunter hopes her players can draw inspiration from that day when they were well and truly the underdogs.
She said: “I’m confident we can get a result and the players are, too. We’ve done it before and I’ve been reminding them all that in our first ever Scottish Cup run as Aberdeen Women, it started with a game against Spartans.
“We were in the North Division, two tiers below SWPL 1, and put them out of the cup, so there’s a bit of history there and I want to remind them of that and how good it felt on that day.
“And, even compared to where we are now, we will still need the same performance and determination that we had when we were first established.
“I remember how hungry and motivated we were for the game, so we need to bring that again this time.”
Drawing on past experiences
The fourth round tie will be the third time the two sides have met already this season, with their last clash less than a month ago.
Aberdeen gave away a 2-0 lead on that occasion, as the game ended 3-2 in Spartans’ favour.
Since that defeat, the Dons have recorded three wins on the bounce – including a massive victory against Hibernian last weekend.
Co-boss Hunter thinks her side’s impressive run of form, combined with their knowledge of how Spartans like to play, puts them in a decent position coming into the tie.
“It’s been a little bit harder for Spartans since they beat us and they’ve not had the best results. So hopefully we can learn from that last game against them and take our current run of form into the game, too,” Hunter explained.
“As a manager, you’ve studied them over and over, because we’ve played them so often.
“We’ve got a lot of notes and we know how they like to play, so it does make it slightly more comfortable.”
🔴 We are back at home on Sunday as we take on @spartansfcwomen in the Scottish Cup.
⌚️ Kick off, 4pm.
— Aberdeen FC Women (@AberdeenWomen) February 8, 2022
However, Hunter knows the occasion of the cup will play an important part in the game as both teams look to progress.
She added: “It’s important that we just don’t take it as a comfortable game and that’ll be the message on Sunday.
“It’s not just a league game – it’s a cliché, but anything can happen in the cup.
“It’s really important, because it’s not three points you’re fighting for, you can pick up those points elsewhere in the league, but we’ll be in or out of the cup come the end of the game.
“We need to have the mentality that this is not just another Spartans game and we’ll need to go out and give it absolutely everything until the final whistle.”