Evening Express

Aberdeen held at home by Hibs but remain in second spot

Aberdeen goalkeeper Joe Lewis saved a penalty against Hibs at Pittodrie.

ABERDEEN retained second spot in the Premiership despite being held 0-0 by rivals Hibs at Pittodrie.

However the Reds’ hold on runners-up spot lessened as third placed Rangers reduced the gap to one point with a 1-0 home defeat of Kilmarnock.

Aberdeen are three points clear of Hibs in fourth in a race for second that looks set to go right to the final game of the season.

Keeper Joe Lewis produced a superb penalty save in the sixth minute to deny Hibs and Reds winger Niall McGinn hit the bar in an enthralling post split clash.

 

Aberdeen made one change from the side that defeated Hearts 2-0 with Scotland international midfielder Kenny McLean suspended.

Defender Mark Reynolds came in.

Striker Sam Cosgrove, a January signing from Carlisle United, retained his  slot after an impressive first start against the Jambos.

The Dons also today confirmed teenage Hamilton midfielder Lewis Ferguson has agreed a pre-contract to move to Pittodrie in the summer.

Defender Anthony O’Connor was yellow carded after just 30 seconds for a foul on John McGinn and was effectively walking a tight rope after.

Hibs were awarded a penalty in the sixth minute when Jamie MacLaren was clumsily bundled over in the box by Reynolds.

Referee John Beaton immediately pointed to the spot and there could be no argument from the Reds – it was a stone-wall penalty and Reynolds was fortunate not to be booked.

Keeper Joe Lewis salvaged the situation with a superb as he dived to his right to block MacLaren’s spot kick and send it spinning over the bar.

Moments later Stevie May curled a 30 yard free kick wide of the far post.

On the quarter hour mark a low drive from Graeme Shinnie took a deflection that sent it inches wide of the near post.

The resultant corner was cleared easily.

Hibs blew a clear chance to take the lead in the 23rd minute when MacLaren was left with a free header six yards out when meeting a cross from Martin Boyle, but he headed over.

Moments later the Dons should have been awarded a penalty when Mackay-Steven was bundled over in the by Paul Hanlon but referee Beaton waved it away,

In the 32nd minute McKenna met a May free-kick and his 10 yard header beat keeper Ofir Marciano but Darren McGregor scooped the ball clear off the line.

Moments later Mackay-Steven knocked the ball down the line ready to give chase but John McGinn slid in with a rash challenge with no chance of winning the ball.

The foul was right in front of the Dons dug-out with boss Derek McInnes and assistant Tony Docherty both incensed.  McGinn was fortunate to receive only a yellow for the terrible challenge.

Aberdeen were denied a sensational opener in the 44th minute when McGinn curled a 35 yard free-kick beyond keeper Marciano only to crack off the cross-bar.

In the 63rd minute McGinn went on a run and was not closed down by the Dons. That allowed him the chance to shoot and Lewis dived to his left to block and parry wide.

Hibs were denied in the 79th minute when Florian Kamberi was played in on goal but Lewis blocked his low eight yard shot at the near post.

 

ABERDEEN: Lewis, Logan, O’Connor, McKenna, Reynolds, Ball, Shinnie, McGinn, Mackay-Steven, May, Cosgrove.

Subs: Stewart (for May 46), Christie (for McGinn 67), Rooney (for Mackay-Steven 82)

Subs not used: Woodman, Considine, Arnason, Wright.

 

HIBS: Marciano, Whittaker, Hanlon, McGinn, Stevenson, Boyle, Maclaren, Kamberi, Allan, McGregor, Ambrose.

Subs: Barker (MacLaren 66), McGeouch (for Allan 78)

Subs not used: Bell, Gray, Bartley, Slivka, Porteous.

 

Referee:  John Beaton