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Hibernian 1 - 2 Aberdeen

HT Score: Hibernian 1 - 1 Aberdeen

Scottish Premiership
Hibernian scorers: McNulty 26
Aberdeen scorers: Cosgrove 43, Wilson 62.

19/05/2019 | KO: 15:00

Aberdeen end the season with a win, but it was not enough to secure third spot.

The Dons will have to hope that Celtic win the Scottish Cup next weekend if they are to continue their run of qualifying for Europe.

For the final match of the 2018-19 season, manager Derek McInnes made two changes to the team which beat Hearts nine days previously. Out went Greg Stewart, while goalkeeper Joe Lewis missed out following the injury he sustained against the Tynecastle side. In came Connor McLennan to make his return from injury and Tomas Cerny also made his first start for the Dons. His only substitute appearance this season was coming on at Easter Road in the previous league meeting between the sides.

The two teams emerged in front of a less than capacity crowd at Easter Road - the away end however was packed as the Red Army travelled inforce to see if The Dons could claim third place and with it a European qualification spot. That would also depend on what happened at Rugby Park as a win for Kilmarnock against Rangers would render any Dons result meaningless.

It was a positive start from The Dons who saw lots of the ball in the early stages. Good work by Max Lowe saw him pinch the ball in midfield, he then found Lewis Ferguson who tried a shot from long range but Marciano held comfortably low to his right. A few minutes later, Ferguson was fouled by McGregor. The free kick deflected off the wall, it eventually fell for Ferguson again but his shot which was on target was well blocked by the Hibernian defence.

As news of Kilmarnock taking an early lead against Rangers filtered through to the capital, Daryl Horgan whipped a ball in from the right hand side towards McNulty but his effort went wide of the right hand post. McNulty was next to try his luck again when the ball fell to him in the box but his effort was weak and easily grasped by Cerny. The home side continued to dominate for a spell and McNulty again saw a header go just wide of the post before he fired in another shot which Cerny had to save.

Hibs took the lead on 27 minutes.

The ball was neatly chipped over the top by Fraser Murray and as the Dons tied to play offside, Marc McNulty nipped through the middle and sent the ball beyond Cerny. A composed finish from McNulty who waited for Cerny to commit himself before applying the finish. A poor goal from the Dons point of view but the Edinburgh deserved to be ahead at this stage.

They nearly made it two a few moments later - Murray trying a shot from the edge of the box which went inches past the post.

Aberdeen tried to respond and on 34 minutes won a free kick around 25 yards out. Lewis Ferguson took the kick and curled it on target but Marciano was able to hold it. A comfortable enough stop. James Wilson had the next effort on goal for The Dons. After gliding past two Hibs defenders, the on loan Manchester United player fired in a shot from the right but Marciano was able to clutch easily.

But two minutes before the break Aberdeen did get back on level terms.

Good build up play by McLennan down the left eventually saw the ball fall for Cosgrove inside the area and at the second attempt he was able to slam the ball into the net. The power in the shot beat Marciano despite the keeper getting a hand on it.

It was probably more than the Dons deserved but it gave them a big boost going into the second half.

Half Time: Hibernian 1 Aberdeen 1

There were no changes for either side at the break.

Early on in the half, Cosgrove was nearly able to capitalise on slack goalkeeping from Marciano but the Hibs keeper managed to clear the ball at the second attempt.

Stevie Mallan had the first real attempt on goal of the second period but his effort went high and wide of the target. Fraser Murray then had a header which was straight at Tomas Cerny. It was a good opportunity.

Good play down the left from Wilson and McLennan saw the latter skip into the box and he won a corner for the visitors. From the corner, Scott McKenna rose highest but his header didn't go far and fell for Cosgrove whose shot rebounded off a defender and Hibs cleared. Dominic Ball halted the resultant break and was cautioned by Euan Anderson for the foul.

Dom was then replaced by Stevie May as The Dons searched for what might be a decisive goal in the race for Europe.

It proved to be a great substitution as they got it just a few minutes later.

Great play down the left, saw Cosgrove play the ball to Stevie May, and although the ball was slightly behind him, Stevie did very well to get the ball out of his feet and spread the ball into the path of the unmarked James Wilson who fired the ball beyond Marciano.

And with that came news of a Rangers equaliser at Rugby Park- The Dons were now in pole position to claim third place.

Aberdeen kept up the pressure and made several good moves into the box but couldn't capitalise. At the other end, Cerny was called into action on 71 minutes when a ball fell to David Gray in the box but his effort was saved by the Czech goalkeeper. A really smart stop as Tomas would only have seen the ball come through a ruck of players.

James Wilson's superb ball out to the left for Max Lowe saw the full back drive into the box, his cross was met by Stevie May at the back post but his shot was poor and allowed Hibs to counter.

Thankfully they were not able to capitalise.

Gary Mackay-Steven replaced Connor McLennan with 15 minutes remaining of the match.

Gary quickly reminded everyone of his quality with some lovely touches and his pace forced the Hibs defence to drop deeper.

Aberdeen then wasted a couple of good chances after quick breaks - on three occasions they were careless with the final pass. Hibs by now were offering very little going forward.

Lewis Ferguson received treatment after being injured in a challenge and he went off to be replaced by Michael Devlin on 84 minutes. Departing captain Graeme Shinnie was brought down after a tenacious run forward and McGregor picked up a yellow card for the challenge.

In the first minute of stoppage time the Dons were awarded a penalty. Cosgrove and Mackay-Steven combined well before the latter was brought down in the box by Gray. In truth there did not appear to be much contact, but it was another good positive run from Gary. Sam Cosgrove stepped up to take the penalty but Marciano saved it. The striker, who had the opportunity to become top League scorer, went down the middle but the keeper made the stop with his legs and frustratingly Sam also wasn't able to get on to the rebound.

Strangely it was the second penalty Aberdeen had missed at that end this season in the league, despite having won a penalty shoot-out into that goal in the League cup.

A few moments later, referee Euan Anderson brought the game to a conclusion and The Dons finished the season with a win. A deserved victory as they were well on top in the second half.

However, it wasn't enough to claim third place and that European spot though. A late penalty for Kilmarnock saw them pip the Dons to third place on goal difference.

Aberdeen will now have to wait for the outcome of Saturday's Scottish Cup final to find out whether or not they will get the chance to qualify for the Europa League group stages.

Hibernian Teamsheet
O. Marciano, D. Gray, L. Stevenson, M. Milligan (M. Bartley 64), D. McGregor, P. Hanlon, D. Horgan (O. Shaw 79), S. Omeonga (V. Slivka 83), M. McNulty, S. Mallan, F. Murray
Unused Subs: Kamberi, Agyepong, Bogdan, Whittaker

Bookings:  Milligan 34,   Omeonga 79,   McGregor 88,   Mallan 90
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Cerny, Logan, Shinnie, Considine, McKenna, Wilson, Cosgrove, Ferguson (Devlin 85), Ball (May 59), McLennan (McLennan 77), Lowe.

Unused Subs: Craddock, Gleeson, Ross, Campbell.

Bookings:  Ball (59).
Attendance: 18,631
Venue: Easter Road, Edinburgh
Referee: Euan Anderson
Next Match
27 Apr 2024 / 15:00 / Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen