Aberdeen must end this season’s Old Firm hoodoo to retain their status as Scotland’s second force.
Manager Derek McInnes had stated the Dons would need four victories in the five post split games to secure that runners-up spot.
They have two in the bag with two games remaining against Rangers at Pittodrie tomorrow and champions Celtic away on Sunday.
It is effectively win or bust against the Ibrox club but the Reds have not taken a single point from the Old Firm this season.
Not just the points drought, but the winless streak, must end against the Glasgow two.
Rangers tomorrow is the big one – a Dons win will blow the Ibrox club out of the race for runners-up.
Despite being held 0-0 by Hibs the Reds remain one point clear of ‘Gers – it is in their own hands.
After struggling to score against the Old Firm the Reds may have unearthed a secret weapon up front at the right time. Towering striker Sam Cosgrove retained his place having impressed on his first start in the 2-0 defeat of Hearts. He was a constant menace to the Hibs rear-guard at set pieces and links up the midfield and attack with holding play. Cosgrove’s presence could ruffle up a Rangers defence that has been less than convincing for most of this season.
This was a fiery, full-blooded, fiercely competitive, passionate game played at a high tempo with both sets of fans doing their bit to create a terrific atmosphere.
Exactly what the Premiership split was designed to engineer.
There will be more to come in an exciting finale to the campaign before a busy summer in the transfer market.
Rangers’ appointment of Liverpool and England legend Steven Gerrard as new manager on a four-year deal is a bold move. Whether it is a game changer for the landscape of Scottish football or another in a recent line of disastrous appointments remains to be seen.
Either way the Dons will have to be even stronger next season to react to any potential improvements at Ibrox.
That will inevitably need a strong transfer market for boss McInnes.
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 from behind by Reynolds.
It was a stone-wall penalty. Keeper Joe Lewis produced a superb diving save to his right to deny MacLaren and push the spot kick high and wide.
Hibs should have broken the deadlock in the 23rd minute when MacLaren was found unmarked at the back post by a cross from Martin Boyle but skied his header over.
Aberdeen had a penalty claim turned down in the 25th minute when Mackay-Steven collided with Paul Hanlon. It was the right call.
Scott McKenna met a May free-kick in the 32nd minute with his 10-yard header beating keeper Ofir Marciano but Darren McGregor cleared.
Moments later Mackay-Steven was wiped out by a terrible challenge from John McGinn.
The Dons winger knocked the ball down the line and gave chase only to be scythed down by McGinn who was fortunate only to see yellow.
Aberdeen were denied a sensational opener in the 44th minute when McGinn curled a 35-yard free-kick beyond Marciano only to crack off the cross-bar.
Early in the second half Lewis saved a McGinn drive and again denied Hibs in 79th minute when saving a Florian Kamberi shot.
In injury time Reynolds had the chance to secure a dramatic win but headed wide from six yards out.
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 (for MacLaren 66), McGeouch (for Allan 78)
Subs not used: Bell, Gray, Bartley, Slivka, Porteous.
Referee: John Beaton