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Match Preview | Hibernian v Aberdeen
Competition: cinch Scottish Premiership
Match: Hibernian v Aberdeen
Venue: Easter Road
Kick Off: 15:00
TV Coverage: RedTV: Video coverage – RedTV International. Audio commentary- GB & Ireland. PPV: Purchase from Hibernian – please click here.
Post-match: Reaction after the final whistle. Full match replay available from 10.00pm, highlights from midnight.
Reaction Post Match: Full match replay available from 10.00pm, highlights from midnight.7
Manager Jim Goodwin spoke to the media on Thursday lunchtime to preview Saturday’s visit to Easter Road where we take on Hibernian. To watch in full on RedTV, please click here.
“We’re delighted to get the three points last Saturday. I said before and after the game that the the result was always going to be more important than the performance. Hopefully that will ease a little bit of attention. Albeit, we’re not mathematically safe right now. So we can’t rest on our laurels and think it’s job done because it’s not.
“I also said a few weeks ago that every position in the league table is worth some prize money to the club and we owe it to ourselves as a group of staff and players to try and finish the league in as positive a manner and as high up the table as possible. That’s what we aim to do over the next three games.
“We want to try and gain some momentum between now and the end of next weekend. We would love to try and win the next three games and to try and give the fans something to cheer about and give them some sort of positivity to go into the summer with. The players and the staff didn’t over celebrate last weekend. We’re we’re extremely disappointed about the position that we find ourselves in. There’s no getting away from that. But we are where we are and we just have to now make sure that we finish the season as well as we possibly can.
“I think for the majority of the season, for as disappointing a campaign as it has been for the club in general, there have been one or two positive moments to come out of it, the young lads in particular deserve a special mention. Obviously Calvin Ramsay, for the first half of the campaign in particular was absolutely outstanding and one of the form young players in Europe never mind here in Scotland.
“Connor Barron who did exceptionally well at Kelty in the first half of the campaign came back in January and has been an ever present in the first team and won a couple of awards as well. Jack McKenzie as well because he’s probably slipped under the radar a little bit because Calvin and Connor have maybe stole the majority of the headlines, but Jack has had one or two injury issues. We’ve managed to sort that out. We’ve managed to give him that bit of confidence back in his own body. I think he just needed to train regularly and to get back into the team and he’s been very, very consistent in the last couple of games. Long may that continue because left fullbacks in this day and age aren’t very easy to come by, especially ones that can defend as well as what Jack can in one vs ones. He’s also got great energy levels to bomb on and get forward as well.
“At the end of the day, there’s not an endless pot of money here. We need to run as any other business runs and while there is the opportunity to go and earn some extra money and bring some extra prize money in for the for the club (through league position) and that’s what we will do, that is an added incentive. The major incentive for all of the players and for the staff here is to finish the season with a bit of pride.
“I spoke about trying to restore some pride in ourselves and in the club and to do that we need to finish the season in a positive manner. We have a lot of work to do. That work has started from the first moment I came in. I’ve had long meetings with the Director of Football (Steven Gunn) and with the Head of Recruitment (Darren Mowbray), and we’ve got a list as you can imagine, as long as your arm in terms of potential targets and then we’re working our way through that. Steven Gunn is working tirelessly behind the scenes and negotiating with players and different representatives. But unfortunately, these things don’t always happen as quickly as what you would like and I’m extremely impatient. I’m doing his head in every single morning at half past seven, and most people are probably not out of their bed or still not have started work by that point. He’s doing all he can believe me.
“As a group, we are doing all we can. We’ve got a really good strategy here, one that I’m very confident in. We’ve got a good recruitment team out there as well and they are working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure that we bring good quality players to the club. And we’ve already done that prior to me coming in, Vicente is a product of the hard work that the recruitment department are doing, and we’ll continuously do that right up until the end of the summer window and then we’ll start again planning for the January window.
“Vicente is an exciting player. I’ve spoke long and hard about having big characters at the club. To play for big teams, not just Aberdeen but to play for any big team out there in the world, you need to have an inner belief and a bit of confidence and Vinnie certainly has got that.
“What we need to do as a team going forward is to try and find a way to get him involved in the game as often as possible and just to keep feeding him the ball. The thing I love about him is that when he makes a mistake or when he gives the ball away or when the defender gets the better of him on the odd occasion, he doesn’t lose any confidence in himself. He will continue to go and drive at that defender again next time around and that’s my job as a manager to encourage the guys at the top end of the pitch to not have any fear about making mistakes and about giving the ball away. Vinnie is certainly not lacking in confidence, that’s for sure. And we need to try and identify more players like him throughout the team because they’re the types of characters that we need.
Finishing The Season Strongly
“Every game every training session is an opportunity for the players to go and show me what they’ve got. It’s not just about on the Saturday, unfortunately we can only pick 11. Today in training, we had about 24 players including all the keepers so there’s always going to be guys that are disappointed but every training session is an opportunity for them to prove to me what they’re made of and what kind of attitude they’ve got and the right temperament and then the right character again to remain here as part of my plans. I’m not going to be making any unnecessary changes. If I can avoid it at the weekend. I’ll pick my strongest 11 from the players that I have available to me. Hopefully, everybody will come through tomorrow’s session and then I’ll have a good number to go and choose from. It’s not a time for resting on our laurels or making drastic changes just for the sake of making changes. We need to go and try and win every game between now and the end of the season. And hopefully if we do that it will give us a good chance to finish seventh.
“I think both sets of players and both sets of staff have got a lot to prove and no doubt the Hibs fans will be looking for a reaction from their team. We’ve had a couple of of home games so this is our first away trip for a little while but that will bring a decent travelling support down to Edinburgh like we always do, and it’s up to us to give our fans something to cheer about, something for them to get out of their seat and then hopefully we’ll send them home happy again on Saturday.
“We don’t fear going down to Edinburgh and playing against Hibs. They’re a decent team, there’s no doubt about that. They’ve got some very good players that can cause us problems as well. We have to have that confidence in our in ourselves as a group and individually that we’ve got enough here to go and to go and win the game. The players still have got a lot to play for, even though there’s only three games left. We’ve got a few members of the squad that want to be involved in the international setup in the summer, whether that is at underage or whether as a senior international level. Members of the squad are still fighting to prove that they’re capable of staying here and being a part of my rebuilding process. Other members of the squad who have been told that they’re free to leave and want to be playing for contracts elsewhere. So there’s always something to play for in this game. As I keep saying to the players, you’re only as good as your last game. That’s the game that will be the freshest in the memories of the fans and of the scouts and of the international managers watching. So every time they go into that field, it’s really important that they give a good account of themselves and hopefully they’ll see that and Saturday.
“Everybody’s great. Today was the first morning actually, since I’ve came in that we’ve not had anybody in the treatment room. Kevin Bain the Head of the Medical department deserves a lot of credit. Hopefully that will remain the same between now and the end of next week and then going forward into pre-season.
“Fitness wise, the boys are in a good place. They’ve been working extremely hard in the last nine or 10 weeks since I’ve been in. As I said, we’ve got a full complement of players training today, which is the first time since I’ve been in the building. In terms of confidence it is always an issue when you’re at the wrong end of the table but hopefully off the back of a decent result against Dundee last weekend, that will give the boys a little bit more self belief.
“Well, I think we need to improve in every department. As a group we’ve conceded far too many goals, it’s not just down to the goalkeeper and the lads at the back. The fact of the matter is we need to make sure that we’re better defensively next season. I’ve spoke about the need to try and bring the age of the squad down. We’ve had 10 or 11 over 30 year olds within the squad. I’m not ageist in the slightest but at the same time I think we’ve got too many players in that category. We need to try and sign players who are in that peak age which I deem to be between 23 and 28 where they’re at their best. We’re going to try and strengthen every area of the pitch. We just want to bring in a better quality of player that’s going to give us the best opportunity next season to be at that top end of the table, challenging with the big boys but also given us the opportunity to go long into the distance of all the cup competitions as well.
“Christian is contracted to Aberdeen for another season, and neither him nor his representatives have been in touch with me or anybody else in the football department to tell us that they don’t want to be here and they don’t want to be a part of it. Christian scored some important goals for the club in the first half of the season. Obviously I think there was a little bit of disappointment when Stephen Glass was relieved of his duties because he brought him to the club and that’s only natural as a player because you’re used to working with a certain manager and a certain style. I do things a little bit differently.
“I have to say Christian has been completely on board with everything that we’ve asked him to do. Of course, we’d love him to score every week but that’s not natural. He’s doing all he can in training and he’s working really well. He’s had a real busy period. When he came from the MLS to Scotland he had no real rest period and I just felt in the last few weeks. We’ve seen a little bit of tiredness there, which is only natural again, he is only human at the end of the day. He’s played a of football in the last 12 to 18 months without any real rest period. I think it’s shown in recent weeks, so we have to try and protect him as best we can which is why sometimes he comes off a little bit earlier or sometimes he doesn’t start a game but Christian is fine as far as I’m aware. He wants to be here and until I hear otherwise, then that will remain the case.”
Head to Head
Played Overall 283, Won 125, Drawn 70, Lost 88, Scored 444, Conceded 342
The Last Time Out
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) May 5, 2022
Match Page - Formation
Match Page - Text Commentary
A Point for The Dons at Easter Road.
HIBERNIAN 1 ABERDEEN 1
Saturday 7th May 2022
Referee: Bobby Madden
The Dons picked up a point at Easter Road with David Bates’ strike cancelled out by a Paul McGinn goal in a game with an end of season feel to it.
Jim Goodwin made two changes to the side that beat Dundee at Pittodrie last Saturday, Ross McCrorie coming back from suspension and Dante Polvara given his first start for the Dons. Christian Ramirez started on the bench and Calvin Ramsay missed out with injury.
After losing 1-0 at Livingston last weekend, there were two changes for Hibs, Ryan Porteous and Josh Campbell in the starting XI in place of Lewis Stevenson and James Scott, who both dropped to the bench.
The Dons slicked the ball about confidently in the opening couple of minutes but in their first attack, Hibs won a controversial indirect free-kick for an alleged back pass on the by-line from Declan Gallagher. The free-kick was moved back to the edge of the six-yard box, played to Porteous who smashed a shot at goal, Gallagher getting in the way to block. From the corner, it was David Bates’ turn to throw himself in the way of a Hibs shot to help clear the lines.
A lovely Dons move on 22 minutes caused more controversy. A measured pass from Connor Barron allowed Jonny Hayes to beat the offside trap. Racing to the by-line, he picked out Lewis Ferguson with a nicely weighted cross and the midfielder smashed it goalward on the volley. Hanlon got in the way of it to block it away, Ferguson adamant that the Hibs man handled the ball in doing so but no foul was given.
Melkersen was given the freedom of Easter Road on 28 minutes, receiving the ball 30 yards out with nobody around him, bringing the ball forward to fire in a low shot from the edge of the area, Joe Lewis producing a terrific fingertip save at full stretch away to his right.
The Dons weren’t far away with a free-kick on the right edge of the box on 37 minutes, Hayes firing in a low one at the near post that Macey put behind for a corner, the goalkeeper dealing comfortably with the set piece.
HALF-TIME: HIBERNIAN 0 ABERDEEN 0
Five minutes into the second half, Ferguson played a blind pass across the top of his own box to give Newell a clear sight of goal, Gallagher coming over to block the shot after the Hibs man dithered.
On 53, a Clarke scissor-kick caught Ferguson on the head of the edge of the box. After giving the free-kick to Hibs, the referee finally gave it Aberdeen’s way on the edge of the area. Ferguson blasted it into the wall but the Dons recycled the loose ball. Hayes hoisted a cross to the back post, Gallagher nodded down and Bates tucked it away just inside the post with no fuss – just like watching Duncan Shearer in his prime. Excellent finish.
Marley Watkins went to turf with a problem with his right thigh just past the hour, making way for Ramirez. Funso Ojo replaced Polvara at the same time after a tidy full debut. Ojo went to right-back, McCrorie moving into the middle. Hibs then withdrew Campbell for Jasper, Scott replacing Melkersen a few minutes later.
Lewis produced a magnificent save on 75, the ball ricocheting into Newell’s path on the edge of the six yard box. His stabbed shot looked to be beyond him but the goalkeeper somehow extended the right arm behind him to keep the ball out.
Straight up the other end, Hayes’ cross through the six yard box was inches in front of Besuijen who threw himself full length but couldn’t get the touch. Seconds later, Hayes put in another dangerous ball, Bates directing his diving header over the bar.
Hibs were back on terms in 83 minutes, a similar goal to Aberdeen’s. Jasper slung in a cross to the back post, Scott headed it back across goal and McGinn volleyed it in from point blank range. Dylan McGeouch and Adam Montgomery replaced Barron and Jack MacKenzie in the wake of the goal. A couple of minutes later, Bushiri and Stevenson were brought on for Henderson and Hanlon.
Bates collected a booking for a foul on Newell as the game entered its final minute of regulation time. From the free-kick some 25 yards out, Porteous put the ball straight into the hands of Lewis.
Four minutes into added time, Doig smashed a shot at goal from a Hibs corner, McCrorie taking the ball flush on the side of the head from a couple of yards away as he came across to block. After treatment and with the fear of concussion, he was replaced by Andrew Considine with the final few seconds.
Full-Time: Hibernian 1-1 Aberdeen
HIBERNIAN: Macey, McGinn, Hanlon (Bushiri 88), Porteous, Clarke, Doyle-Hayes, Newell, Doig, Campbell (Jasper 65), Henderson (Stevenson 88), Melkersen (Scott 72).
Subs not used: Dabrowski, McGregor, Hauge, Blaney, Aitken.
GOAL: McGinn (83)
ABERDEEN: Lewis, McCrorie (Considine 90+7), Gallagher, Bates, MacKenzie (Montgomery 85), Barron (McGeouch 85), Ferguson, Polvara (Ojo 64), Hayes, Besuijen, Watkins (Ramirez 64).
Subs not used: Woods, McLennan, Jenks, Ruth.
GOAL: Bates (55)