Mackay-Steven winner sends Aberdeen above Hibs

Mackay-Steven winner sends Aberdeen above Hibs

Gary Mackay-Steven (right) broke the deadlock at Pittodrie

Aberdeen leapfrogged Hibernian and are now within five points of the Scottish Premiership summit thanks to a thunderous Gary Mackay-Steven goal.

The winger celebrated his Scotland call-up by pouncing on a slack pass by Ryan Porteous just before the break.

It was a rare chance in a first 45 minutes in which Aberdeen had the edge.

But Hibs improved thanks to a half-time tactical switch only for Mark Milligan and Florian Kamberi to miss golden opportunities to equalise.

Aberdeen’s fourth consecutive win – and fifth in a row at home – leaves Hibs without a win in their last four outings.

While the Dons move up to fifth, the Edinburgh side drop to seventh after an uncharacteristic third game in a row without a goal.

Wind and Scotland winger the winner

Given that the previous three meetings had finished level after 90 minutes, two without a goal being scored, it was almost guaranteed to be a tight affair.

But both managers were determined to belie the predictions, with attacking line-ups – forward Stevie May being preferred to defensive midfielder Dominic Ball for Aberdeen and Florian Kamberi returning from suspension to partner Jamie Maclaren up front for the first time in the league this season.

Despite the Dons having four players named in Alex McLeish’s national squad this week and Hibs having three called up by Australia, finding them with passes of any quality, never mind international class, was proving to be difficult in the heavy wind swirling around Pittodrie.

Aussie midfielder Milligan had an early header cleared from in front of the Aberdeen goal by Shay Logan, but one of Aberdeen’s Scotland quartet who was making the difference at the other end.

Porteous was looking uncomfortable wide on the left of Hibs’ back three and, after he picked up a yellow card for a foul on Mackay-Steven, Aberdeen continually fed the winger with opportunities to further tease the 19-year-old.

When Mackay-Steven intercepted Porteous’ clearance, the Scotland Under-21 centre-back was easily deceived by a little drop of the shoulder and the ball was soon whistling between the near post and goalkeeper Adam Bogdan’s outstretched hand.

It was no surprise when Hibs head coach Neil Lennon changed to a back four during the half-time break and Milligan was again winning a header but sending it over from a good position.

The wind was causing goalkeeping hick-ups at both ends, with Kamberi failing to finish after rounding Joe Lewis and May failing to make Bogdan pay for his equally unwise rush from his goal-line.

Aberdeen have not lost from a winning position since 2014 at Pittodrie, where Hibs have not now won in six visits since May 2012, and they were helped on their way as Kamberi twice failed to find the target from close range.

Fortunes swing in Pittodrie breeze – analysis

Tyrone Smith, BBC Scotland at Pittodrie

The wind was the winner at Pittodrie, the dreadful conditions stifling what should have been a high-quality affair.

But Aberdeen won’t give a jot about that as their bandwagon continues to gather pace and the international break perhaps coming at the wrong time for the men from the Granite City.

As for Hibs, their run without a win leaves plenty for Lennon to ponder while the national sides are doing their thing over the next fortnight.

They created, and spurned, enough chances to win the game in the second half, but that will be scant consolation for the capital club.

Soccer News

via BBC Sport – Football

November 9, 2018 at 01:48PM


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