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Aberdeen’s recent record against Hibs is cause for hope going into tomorrow’s crucial Premiership clash

Aberdeen's Lewis Ferguson (centre) celebrates making it 1-0 with his teammates during the Premiership match between Hibernian and Aberdeen at Easter Road on August 30, 2020.

Aberdeen go into tomorrow’s Premiership clash with Hibs at Easter Road under pressure.

The Dons have thus far failed to capitalise on a stuttering Celtic and seize the opportunity to claim second place.

Worse still, they are in real danger of falling behind in the race with the Hibees for third, while a recently-flawless Livingston – who cruised to a 2-0 win at Pittodrie in midweek – could even push the Dons down to fifth if things don’t improve rapidly.

Derek McInnes’ team have just one win in their last seven league games and, although they conceded two dreadful goals against Livi, generally their issue has been a lack of chance creation and composed finishing at the other end of the pitch this term.

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes does not expect to have transfer funds available next month.
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes.

McInnes tried to address this by completing a total striker shake-up (three out, three in) before the transfer window closed on Monday, but new top man, Scotland Under-21s ace Fraser Hornby, found himself as isolated as the departed Sam Cosgrove and Curtis Main had been in earlier games.

The Dons need to find a way to get their remaining creative midfielders, like Matty Kennedy and Jonny Hayes, and the new strikers – Hornby, Florian Kamberi and Callum Hendry – to click.

Hibs seems like a good and bad place to try to turn things round.

It’s away from home, which looks like a negative, given the Dons have won once in their last nine league games on road.

Also counting against Aberdeen is the fact Jack Ross’ Hibees are coming into the game on the back of consecutive wins, although the Reds have not let that stop them in the past, even earlier this season.

However, Aberdeen’s last three results have been two draws and a loss, and – although they beat Motherwell in between – the crushing 4-1 loss to strugglers Ross County isn’t far enough the rear-view mirror to be out of sight.

On the other hand, Hibs have only beaten the Dons once in their last 10 league meetings. The Dons have won six of the 10.

The last five league meetings between Hibs and Aberdeen:

Nov 6, 2020 – Aberdeen 2 Hibs 0

Aberdeen shrugged off their bitter Scottish Cup semi-final disappointment to move level on points with defending champions Celtic by winning this one.

With 26 points from the opening 12 games, the Dons also registered the club’s second best start to a league season this century. Since 2000, the Reds have only racked up more points once after 12 games – in the 2017-18 campaign with 27.

Key to Aberdeen’s attack in the early season was the relationship between now-departed loan striker Marley Watkins, now-departed creative midfielder Scott Wright and now injured Ryan Hedges. Watkins was absent for this game (and for the rest of his loan spell from Bristol City), but last season’s top-scorer Cosgrove made his return and scored with a superb chip to follow-up Wright’s opener.

Could it be a seamless transition between Watkins and Cosgrove in the front man role?

Although Hibs had a reasonable shout for a penalty turned away later in the game, at that early point in the season, Aberdeen had made a statement about which team outside Rangers and Celtic had top-three credentials – how things have changed.

Aug 30, 2020 – Hibernian 0 – Aberdeen 1

This was another early-season performance which earned Aberdeen loads of praise.

Hibs almost went undefeated in August and were getting rave reviews for their post-restart showings, however, the Dons – who were at one point rock-bottom and had seen three games postponed due to the “Aberdeen Eight” incident –  got themselves in front with a Lewis Ferguson penalty (won by Watkins) and were resilient enough to hold on – in many ways an archetypal McInnes showing.

This was a result which had everyone talking (prematurely) about Aberdeen’s depth for the 2020/21 campaign – progressing in Europe and resurrecting their league campaign with three wins in 10 days. Another reminder of the malaise which has set in in the months since.

Mar 7, 2020 – Aberdeen 3 – Hibs 1

Who expected this to be the last game Aberdeen would play for four months?

Before coronavirus prematurely ended the 2019/20 season, this was an important win in the race for third, as it put the Dons one point behind Motherwell and meant they could leapfrog them in the following midweek (Aberdeen eventually finished fourth on points-per-game, of course, with the season suspended on the day of the Well clash).

Without a home Premiership win in 2020 to this point – they’d lost the previous four, in fact – the Dons were 1-0 down at half-time against the Hibees and facing another damaging defeat.

The dismissal of Steven Whittaker in the 55th minute was a fundamental turning point in the match.

The Reds ruthlessly exploited their one-man advantage by dominating midfield and utilising their width to feed the attack and equalising via Adam Jackson’s wild own goal from a Niall McGinn cross.

Two minutes after drawing level, the Reds were ahead when another cross from McGinn bypassed Ofir Marciano to find Andy Considine at the back post, who converted from close range.

It was game over in the 84th minute after impressive interplay from Ferguson and McGinn. The latter crossed to Bruce Anderson, but the substitute’s shot was blocked, before Curtis Main finished the chance off.

Dec 7, 2019 – Hibs 3 – Aberdeen 0

Hibs’ solitary win in their last 10 against Aberdeen was about as comprehensive a victory as appears on this list.

It was tough one for Dons fans to take, given the team had rallied to draw 2-2 with Rangers from 2-0 down at Pittodrie on their last outing and made it six games unbeaten.

Truth be told, either team could’ve led at half-time, with Cosgrove and James Wilson both going close for the visitors, but, ultimately, the home side capitalised on injury-enforced Aberdeen tactical decisions.

McInnes was forced to play loan defender Zak Vyner at centre-mid, and had left-back Greg Leigh on the wing. Over the course of the season, this had worked in the game against Rangers and away at Motherwell, however, having the pair in midfield was a disaster at home against Celtic and similarly problematic here.

It all unravelled after the interval and Hibs were ahead on 53 minutes.

Scott Allan picked out the run of Martin Boyle, who Considine had lost. The winger drove away from Scott McKenna, rounded Joe Lewis and tapped into the empty net.

Despite changes, the Dons were increasingly shambolic at the back and Boyle finished again, following a killer pass from new Don Kamberi.

The rout was completed on 74 minutes, Kamberi skipping away from sub Dean Campbell on the left flank and travelling before smashing low to Lewis’ right from the edge of the area.

Oct 5, 2019 – Aberdeen 1 – Hibs 1

This difficult meeting early last season came after a 5-0 humiliation at Ibrox and, all things considered, it was a good enough point, even if Hibs were struggling in the Premiership at this point, because Aberdeen were also struggling to rack up points with any consistency.

A crucial factor was Hibs’ failure to deliver the knock-out punch through a combination of keeper Joe Lewis and the inability of Christian Doidge to convert another chance after Ryan Porteous scored the opener.

Four times Doidge was one-on-one with Lewis – and the keeper saved them all.

Aberdeen’s task became all the tougher when Main received a harsh straight red when taking a heavy touch before jumping into a tackle on Stevie Mallan.

To their credit, Aberdeen fought all afternoon, and levelled in the 86th minute when Cosgrove met McGinn’s corner to bullet home a header from 12 yards.

Ferguson’s red card, four minutes into injury-time, also for a lunge on Mallan, put a bit of a dampener on the late equaliser.