Dons beat Hibs thanks to Mackay-Steven goal

Gary Mackay-Steven

Gary Mackay-Steven’s goal kept up Aberdeen’s unbeaten start to the Premiership season as they won 1-0 at Hibs.

The result keeps the Dons level on points with league leaders Celtic, who visit Pittodrie a week on Wednesday.

Dons boss Derek McInnes made just one change to the side that had convincingly beaten St Johnstone 3-0 at Pittodrie before the international break with Greg Stewart dropping to the bench and Mackay-Steven coming into the side.

This meant that skipper Graeme Shinnie continued at left-back in the absence of Andrew Considine.

The game started at a frantic pace and the first chance of note fell to the Dons on eight minutes.

Shinnie found Ryan Christie on the left, he glided forward, exchanged passes with Adam Rooney and played a good low ball into the near post which found Mackay-Steven but from 10 yards his left foot effort went just past the near post.

On the quarter hour home goalie Ross Laidlaw did well to keep out Rooney’s glancing header from a Stevie May free-kick, but Rooney was offside in any case.

Mackay-Steven threatened again in the 20th minute. After a fine move involving Kenny McLean, Rooney and Christie Mackay-Steven was teed up to shoot from the edge of the area, but he didn’t quite catch it and Laidlaw held on.

But midway through the first half Hibs hit the post.

A switch from left to right found Steven Whittaker on the right hand side of the area, he skipped inside Shinnie and the ball fell for Vykintas Slivka, whose curling right foot effort from 15 yards hit the outside of the right upright.

The Reds surged ahead seven minutes from half-time and it was a superb move finished off by the returning Mackay-Steven.

After a patient spell of possession Kari Arnason found May in the inside right channel, the striker laid the ball off the McLean in a central area, the midfielder threaded a wonderful through ball in between Paul Hanlon and Lewis Stevenson.

Mackay-Steven was onto it and clear on the right side of the area and he picked his spot – rolling the ball low past Laidlaw and into the far corner from 14 yards with his left foot.

Two  minutes into the second period Aberdeen keeper Joe Lewis was called into action.

Shay Logan fouled Martin Boyle 25 yards from goal left of centre, Anthony Stokes sent in a decent right footed shot which Lewis did well to push to safety.

The game continued to be even with both teams trying to pass the ball, the next chance fell to Rooney, but his hooked volley went across the face of goal.

With 20 minutes to play Christie’s speculative 30-yard drive zipped just over the crossbar.

With 14 minutes left Aberdeen had Scott  McKenna to thank for keeping them ahead. A switch of play found Boyle, Shinnie slipped which allowed Boyle inside, he shot for goal with his left foot but McKenna got his body in the way.

There was another scare for the men from the Granite City with seven minutes left.

Sub Danny Swanson waltzed inside from the left, when in the box it looked like he was away to draw Hibs level, but as Swanson went to shoot four red jerseys hurled themselves in front of the ball.

Seconds later Swanson cut the ball back from the byline, Lewis couldn’t hold it, but McKenna booted it clear.

Hibs threw everything at the Reds in the closing stages but Aberdeen held on for a fine win.

Hibernian: Ross Laidlaw, Steven Whittaker, Efe Ambrose, Paul Hanlon, Lewis Stevenson; Marvin Bartley (Brandon Barker 66), Vykintas Slivka (Danny Swanson 77); Martin Boyle, John McGinn, Dylan McGeouch; Anthony Stokes (Simon Murray 85).

Subs not used: Maciej Dabrowski, David Gray, Oli Shaw, Ryan Porteous.

Aberdeen: Joe Lewis, Shay Logan, Kari Arnason, Scott McKenna, Graeme Shinnie; Anthony O’Connor, Kenny McLean; Gary Mackay-Steven (Dominic Ball 75), Ryan Christie (Mark Reynolds 88), Adam Rooney; Stevie May (Greg Stewart 80).

Subs not used: Danny Rogers, Nicky Maynard, Scott Wright, Frank Ross.