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Aberdeen 0 - 0 Hibernian

HT Score: Aberdeen 0 - 0 Hibernian

Scottish Premiership

05/05/2018 | KO: 15:00

Stalemate at Pittodrie

McInnes made one changes to the side that comfortably beat Heart of Midlothian last Friday night. Mark Reynolds replaced Kenny McLean who was serving a suspension for the visit of high flying Hibernian. Reynolds slotted into the left back position, with Dons captain Graeme Shinnie moving further up the field.
Both sides came into the fixture in good form, picking up maximum points from the first two fixtures post-split fixtures. The Dons beating Kilmarnock and Hearts, with Hibs beating Kilmarnock and Celtic, both at Easter Road. Just three points separated the two sides prior to the tie, in the race for second spot.

Within the first 30 seconds, referee John Beaton brandished the first card of the game to Dons centre half Anthony O'Connor for a late tackle on John McGinn as Hibs looked to break. This set the tone of the game in what proved to be a feisty opening 45 minutes. The visitors made the stronger start to the tie as Martin Boyle flashed a dangerous ball across the six-yard box which only needed a touch from a green jersey to opening the scoring.
On 5 minutes Hibs had an even better chance to open the scoring, this time from the penalty spot. Reynolds committed a clumsy challenge, coming through the back of Scott Allan in the penalty area. Referee Beaton showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot. However Joe Lewis saved Mark Reynolds' blushes. The Dons keeper guessed the right way and expertly got down to stick out a hand and save Jamie Maclaren's right footed effort.
The opening 20 minutes were played at great speed and intensity, both sides clearly knowing the importance of the tie in the race for second spot. Hibs had another golden chance to open the scoring just after the twenty minute mark. Boyle put in another dangerous ball into the six yard area. Maclaren met it with his head but couldn't divert his header goal bound. It was another let off for Aberdeen. The Dons looked most threatening though GMS down the right hand side, but failed to create any clear goalscoring opportunities in the opening half an hour.
Hanlon was the first Hibs player to go into Beaton's book for an accumulation of fouls. The visitors conceded a number of fouls on red shirts in dangerous areas but The Dons failed to capitalise on the opportunities - McKenna coming the closest nodding down a Stevie May delivery but Hibs were able to scramble the ball away before a red jersey could pounce.
John McGinn went into the book for a nasty late challenge on GMS who was too quick for the Hibs midfielder. The tackle sparked anger amongst both benches and sets of players with the majority of The Reds inside Pittodrie thinking the tackle warranted more than just a yellow card. Minutes later Logan joined him in the book. The game lacked quality in the final third and produced a lack of clear cut chances, however both sides showed spirit, endeavour and the importance of the game committing to strong tackles in the middle of the park, creating a great atmosphere.
Niall McGinn cracked the crossbar just before the break with a free kick from 25 yards. Hibs' keeper Marciano could only stand and watch McGinn's curling effort bounce straight back off the underside of the bar and back into play. It was the closest The Dons came to opening the scoring in what was a tasty opening 45 minutes.
The final action of the half saw Mackay-Steven going into the book for a challenge on Scott Allan. The winger came in from the side and looked as though he won the ball but Beaton deemed the incident not only a foul, but a yellow card for the Aberdeen midfielder.

Half Time: Aberdeen 0-0 Hibernian

Greg Stewart replaced Stevie May, the only change made by either manager as the second half kicked off. Aberdeen came out in the second half and looked a much better outfit than that of the first. GMS continued to look lively in the second half, causing the Hibs defence a number of problems with his twisting and turning runs. The winger won a succession of early corners, the first of which Cosgrove met well but his effort was blocked by Ambrose on in the six-yard box. Unfortunately for The Dons, the second came to nothing and Hibs easily cleared.
On 55 minutes Joe Lewis was forced into a smart save from John McGinn. The Hibs midfielder's long range effort was well parried away and out of danger by Lewis, with both Boyle and Maclaren looking to pounce on any rebound. With 25 minutes left to play, Hibs made their first change of the afternoon, Brandon Barker replacing MacLaren. McInnes followed suit, bringing on Ryan Christie for Niall McGinn as The Dons searched for a winner.
The standard began to drop as the game entered the final 15 minutes and nerves began to creep into both sets of players before McGeouch replaced Scott Allan. Joe Lewis made another smart stop this time from Kamberi to keep the tie goalless. The Dons number one stood up well to block the Hibernian striker's effort from a tight angle.
McInnes threw his final throw of the dice bringing on Adam Rooney for GMS and switching to a 4-4-2 formation. The game became stretched and opened up further in the final 10 minutes. Both sides had corners late on in the tie but neither side could convert with the defences coming out on top. Two minutes of added time were added on at the end of the second half and Reynolds nearly nicked a late winner for The Dons. The defender found himself with a yard of space in the six yard box, but from a tight angle he couldn't divert his header goal bound. This was the last action of note in the tie and the game finished goalless.

With Rangers beating Kilmarnock 1-0 at Ibrox The Dons lead in second place is now cut to just one point. The visit of the Glasgow side on Tuesday night now carries even greater importance in the battle for second spot. The Dons know that a win will guarantee European football for a fifth successive season.
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Lewis, Logan, Shinnie, O'Connor, Reynolds, Mackay-Steven (Rooney 81), McGinn (Christie 68), Ball, McKenna, Cosgrove, May (Stewart 46).

Unused Subs: Wright, Considine, Arnason, Woodman.

Bookings:  O'Connor (1),  Logan (37),  Mackay-Steven (45).
Hibernian Teamsheet
Marciano, Boyle, Stevenson, Hanlon, McGregor, Ambrose Emuobo, Whittaker, McGinn, Allan (McGeouch 77), Kamberi, MacLaren (Barker 66)
Unused Subs: Slivka, Porteous, Gray, Bartley, Bell

Bookings:  Hanlon 28,   McGinn 34
Attendance: 17,822
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: John Beaton
Next Match
20 Apr 2024 / 15:00 / Hampden Park, Glasgow