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Aberdeen v Hibernian | Match Preview
Competition: Ladbrokes Premiership
Match: Aberdeen v Hibernian
Kick Off: 3.00pm
TV Coverage: RedTV International
The manager previewed this Saturday’s Ladbrokes Premiership game against Hibernian with the media this lunchtime.
“Andy is back thankfully; he has trained since Tuesday. He got over that bout of illness and sickness which didn’t help matters on Saturday.
“McKenna is back training today. We understand that he has been a long time out so we just need to see how he reacts with that.
“Getting both of those boys back onto the training pitch has been helpful.
“Bryson is getting closer. Scott Wright got his operation yesterday but none of the others are any closer.
“We are grateful to having McKenna back on the training pitch and Andy back available.
“I am sure there has (been a bit of soul searching).
“For everybody you have just got to be honest. You look at what is available. I have to be honest with myself, did I pick the right team? I know I had limited options.
“The players have got to be honest with themselves in terms of performance.
“We can lose to Rangers, even with us at our strongest, even with us at our best, that can happen.
“We might start to get one or two back at the back end of the international break. Taylor, Glesson and Bryson certainly will be there or there abouts. That is three players right away that can maybe help us.
“Until then we have got to deal with what we have got to deal with at the minute and win the game. If we can win the game going into the international break, everybody starts to feel a bit better about themselves.”
“When you lose in the manner in which we did, we need to be more physical, we need to be more aggressive to bridge the gap, we need to be full of running which I thought clearly impacted on us after the 120 minutes at Tynecastle.
“We also need to show more personality and confidence.
“Anytime we have had big results against teams where we have been the underdogs, wherever that is Celtic or Rangers, we have always carried ourselves with a bit more attitude and that’s what I want my Aberdeen team to be. That’s what I want an Aberdeen player to look like.
“I didn’t think that we showed enough of that side of it.
“It was a young team and it was a real tough experience for all the lads on the pitch. It was tough on us all.
“As I said before we have got to react the right way. Be honest, work hard, work even harder, stick together and get on with the job.
“Passion, drive and spirit are what you want in every game.
“Rangers go and spend £11m – £12million in the summer, we spent £125,000. For us to bridge the gap, when you play Rangers, to make sure it is a decent performance to give yourself a chance of winning.
“We need to bring so much more than what we did on Saturday. We expect that from every game.
“The passion, representing the club well, representing ourselves well. The players trying to get a level of performance that they are happy with. Hopefully we can see more of that, more of everything really on Saturday.
“When you work for clubs who have got a big demand, the fallout from losing big games is always louder.
“Just like when you win big games you can get full of praise. The demand for when you work for bigger clubs, that goes with the territory, you have got to deal with that.
“We have spoken to the players about not letting negative press affect you or when people are blowing smoke up you, you have just got to concentrate on your job and making sure that you are better.
“It is making sure on Saturday that we just deal with the game, get on with the game.
“We know we are a good team. We are sitting fourth in the league. We have got an opportunity to cement that fourth spot going into the international break or maybe even go third depending on results.”
“Hibs go to penalties in their cup tie. They won a very tight game and they naturally get a bounce from that going into the Celtic game and it probably showed in their performance.
“What we can’t do is let the disappointment of Saturday go into this game negatively. We have got to use it in some sort of positive way and that’s to go and knuckle down and get on with the job.
“I watched the derby game, there wasn’t much in the game but they will be disappointed that they haven’t won the game from a winning position.
“There are similarities with the last three team selections. Playing with an extra midfielder, playing with one striker, being a bit more solid throughout.
“Having watched the game against Celtic, they get a bit of fortune with the first goal.
“They certainly worked hard enough for the result and you see there is a bit of spirit there, a bit of renewed energy because of the positivity of the result against Kilmarnock.
“Getting into a semi-final, regardless if it is on penalties or not can lift a team and it can lift a club.
“After the last two results you would have to say they have found their feet and are up and running now.”
“We know we can win games here. Other than Rijeka here the other European games prior to that we played very well. Rijeka we went down to 10 men, we didn’t play so well.
“The two home games against Ross County and Hearts were very strong performances and for a half a game against St Johnstone we were very good.
“The players have shown that they enjoy playing at home and that has got to continue.
“Hopefully the supporters can see a team, going out there, full of passion, full of effort but also full of confidence to deal with the game.
“We will still not keep everybody happy, that’s the nature of it but hopefully we can get the three points that makes us go into the international break a little bit better than we feel right now.”
“He got brought into the squad last time out but to be in the original squad is good.
“I have spoken regularly with Steve in the last couple of weeks. Scott (McKenna) was touch and go to be joining him as well.
“We agreed it was better for Scott to concentrate to get fully fit here and get a good week’s work.
“It is good for Mikey. He has obviously shown the Scotland manager, when he has been away, the right approach to his training and made a good impression.
“It is good for him that he is involved in the Scotland squad.
“Hopefully he can go into that squad on the back of a winning team performance.”
Last Time Out…
Aberdeen rounded off the 2018/19 league season with victory over Hibs at Easter Road. Marc McNulty fired the home side in front but goals in either half from Sam Cosgrove and James Wilson meant The Dons finished the season with a win.
Did You Know?
- Aberdeen and Hibernian are the only two sides outside of Glasgow who have won consecutive league titles. Aberdeen retained their Premier crown in 1985 after clinching the title at Tynecastle in 1984. Hibernian won their back to back championships in 1951 and 1952.
- Gary Mackay-Steven’s hat-trick in December 2017 was the first against Hibernian at Pittodrie in a League game since Billy Little notched a treble in the 4-0 win on 18th October 1958
- No Hibs player has scored in a League game at Pittodrie since Eoin Doyle netted on 29th September 2012. Their last League counter in Aberdeen was an own goal from Graeme Shinnie in December 2017.
The Game That Was…
29/04/2006: Scottish Premiership: Aberdeen 4 v 0 Hibernian – Pittodrie, Aberdeen
Aberdeen kept their European chances alive as they hammered Hibs at Pittodrie. Stevie Crawford opened the scoring after 15 minutes and Steve Lovell grabbed a second before the break. Lovell scored his second of the game just 10 minutes into the second half before Ricky Foster rounded off the scoring.
Match Page - Formation
Match Page - Text Commentary
Nine Man Dons Dig Deep to Rescue Point
Nine man Aberdeen had to dig deep to force a late draw against Hibernian at Pittodrie, grabbing a share of the points with Sam Cosgrove’s 14th goal of the season on an afternoon when Curtis Main and Lewis Ferguson were both given straight red cards.
There were four changes to the starting XI decisively beaten at Ibrox last Saturday, with returns to the side from illness and injury for Scott McKenna and Andy Considine, Michael Devlin and Zak Vyner making way for them. Curtis Main joined Sam Cosgrove up front from the off for the first time, Ethan Ross getting his first league start for the Dons in midfield, Niall McGinn and Connor McLennan on the bench. An improving Hibernian made two changes to the team that drew 1-1 with Celtic last weekend, Porteous and Horgan in for Jackson and Middleton.
The game kicked off at a very blustery Pittodrie, though at least the morning rain had disappeared. Hibs were the first to really threaten in the fourth minute, Joe Lewis having to be quick off his line to block Doidge, the ball going behind for a corner. A couple of minutes later, a dangerous centre from Stevenson flashed through the penalty area without anyone able to get a touch.
In the 13th minute, Hibs had a free-kick 35 yards out, James’ attempt skipped wide under Lewis’ beady eye. At this stage, Hibs were looking just the livelier in a very scrappy start to the game as both sides tried to master the windy conditions.
The Dons had a glimpse of an opening in the 18th minute when Cosgrove’s strength won him good possession, but he picked the wrong option with his pass and Hibs cleared up the danger. Three minutes later, a good run by Ross down the left showed his potential, but he put a bit too much on the cross and nothing came of it.
Aberdeen were improving now and Lewis Ferguson dug out another dangerous cross that was put behind by the visiting defence in the 23rd minute. The hosts kept Hibs penned in and won another corner, Greg Leigh heading wide from Ryan Hedges’ delivery in the 25th minute.
Good work from Main, Hedges and Cosgrove got the Dons away down the right, but Cosgrove’s cross was comfortably cut out in the 28th minute. Big Sam conceded a free-kick moments later, Hibs trying their luck again from 35 yards out, Mallan smacking the ball straight at Lewis, the visitors more than a little optimistic in their decision making at set plays.
Aberdeen created their best opportunity thus far in the 34th minute, Main holding the ball up well before whipping a low ball through the six yard box, but there were no takers for a tap in. The Dons were beginning to turn up the wick now, forcing three corners in quick succession but they couldn’t break the deadlock. From the third, Hibs broke quickly, requiring Leigh to mop up well as Stevenson went on the run.
There were two shots at goal in quick succession in the 38th minute, Cosgrove’s effort blocked, Ferguson’s drive from the edge of the box comfortably handled by Maxwell. Moments later, Hedges was just wide of goal with a left footer from similar distance.
Hallberg and Cosgrove were unnecessarily booked in the 40th minute after a small disagreement that would have barely merited a mention on the floor of the House of Commons. We live in strange times.
In the dying moments of the half, Ross’ neat ball to Leigh won Aberdeen a sixth corner, cleverly worked short for Ferguson whose shot on the turn was blocked at the near post as a fairly drab opening 45 minutes came to its close.
HALF-TIME: ABERDEEN 0 HIBERNIAN 0
Hibs forced a corner three minutes into the second half, the ball worked short initially and then to James on the edge of the box. His low shot was blocked but the rebound fell perfectly for Porteous eight yards out to put the ball past Lewis.
It might have been worse a couple of minutes later as Mallan claimed a penalty but rightly, the referee waved away his protests. Hibs were well on top at this stage and only a great save by Lewis kept it at 1-0 in the 53rd minute, Doidge through on goal only for Lewis to swoop down and pick the ball off his toe.
The Dons were in deep trouble a minute later when referee Robertson produced a straight red for Main as he looked to win a loose ball from Mallan in midfield, perhaps a slightly harsh decision albeit that Main was just off the ground as he made the challenge, Mallan not the only Hibs player to make a meal of things during the game.
Doidge was somehow ruled onside again in the 59th minute, clean through with just Lewis to beat but, once more, he couldn’t, another good stop from the skipper to keep the game alive. It had been a torrid opening to the second half for the Dons as Hibs knocked the ball about with real confidence.
The Dons made a double switch in the 65th minute, Campbell and Ross coming off for Jon Gallagher and McGinn. The changes almost worked in the 68th minute, McGinn fizzing a cross into the box, Hedges cushioning the ball back to Gallagher, but his shot was always rising over the bar.
A ferocious drive from 30 yards from James flashed onto the roof of the net in the 70th minute, whereupon Middleton replaced Horgan for the visitors. A push in the back from Porteous on McGinn brought calls for a penalty in the 71st minute, but there was nothing doing as the Dons began to press for an equaliser.
Doidge was again allowed to run in on goal when apparently yards offside in the 74th minute but yet again, he couldn’t find a way past Lewis in the Aberdeen goal, sparing the assistant’s blushes.
A minute later, Hedges caught one perfectly on the edge of the box, the ball smacking against the post, McGinn onto the rebound only to have his shot blocked, though perhaps he should have put that one away. Hibs made their second change in the 77th minute, Doidge relieved from his personal nightmare of missed opportunities, Kamberi replacing him. Newell then replaced Hallberg after he had received treatment during a minute long stoppage.
A foray forward by McKenna won a free-kick 25 yards out and wide on the left in the 85th minute, McGinn’s ball in headed behind by Porteous for a corner. From it, McGinn produced a perfect delivery to the back post, Cosgrove rising high on the edge of the six yard box to power his header at goal and in off the post for the equaliser.
Mallan had a pop at goal in the 90th minute, wrapping his foot round a 25 yarder that bent wide as the fourth official announced four minutes of added time. Forward came the Dons once more, Hedges winning a 92nd minute flag kick but the delivery was poor and cleared comfortably. Back came Hibs, only for Kamberi to blaze over from the edge of the box.
There was still time though for referee Robertson to reduce the Dons to nine men in the 94th minute, Ferguson mistiming a tackle on Mallan and earning a straight red card, the last action of an afternoon that was as much about the officials as the football.