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Aberdeen mathematically safe from relegation play-off threat after 1-1 draw at Hibs

Aberdeen celebrate David Bates' goal against Hibs at Easter Road.
Aberdeen celebrate David Bates' goal against Hibs at Easter Road.

Aberdeen are mathematically safe from the relegation play-off threat after a 1-1 draw away at Hibs.

The Reds had already all but killed off the play-off danger last weekend with a 1-0 defeat of bottom side Dundee.

However, boss Jim Goodwin had warned the Dons  they were not safe yet and had to finish the job at Easter Road.

They did that by securing a point.

Aberdeen are now eight points ahead of St Johnstone, who occupy the play-off zone, with only two Premiership games remaining.

Aberdeen were on course for a second successive win after David Bates had fired them ahead in the 55th minute.

But they could not hold on for three points, and a clean sheet, as Paul McGinn netted in the 83rd minute.

First start for midfielder Polvara

Aberdeen made two changes from the starting XI that defeated Dundee last weekend.

American midfielder Danta Polvara was taken in for his first start since a January transfer from US college football.

Polvara was secured from Georgetown University on a two-and-a-half-year contract until summer 2024.

The 21-year-old had racked up just six minutes of action since that winter window switch.

Aberdeen’s Dante Polvara holds of a challenge from Joe Newell of Hibs at Easter Road.

Polvara had featured late on as a substitute against Rangers (1-0 loss) and Hibs (3-1 win).

Ross McCrorie returned from a one-game suspension.

Striker Ramirez drops to the bench

United States international Christian Ramirez dropped to the bench.

It is the second time in the last three games the striker has been named as a substitute.

Prior to that Ramirez, on 15 goals for the season, was last a substitute in the Premiership last August.

There is speculation amongst supporters that Ramirez may seek to return to the States in the summer.

Aberdeen’s Marley Watkins in action against Hibs’ Paul Hanlon in Edinburgh.

Manager Jim Goodwin said there has been no indication from Ramirez or his representatives that he wants to leave Aberdeen.

Ramirez is contracted to the Dons until summer 2023.

In the other change Calvin Ramsay missed out due to injury – with the returning McCrorie taking up that right-back role.

Hibs created the first opportunity in the fifth minute when Josh Campbell drilled a low cross to the near post from the right byline.

A controversial pass back in the Aberdeen box leads to a discussion with referee Bobby Madden, who awarded a free-kick.

Early opportunity for Hibernian

Centre-back Declan Gallagher stopped the ball with his foot to stop it going behind and rolled it towards keeper Lewis, who picked it up.

It was a back-pass mix up that could have been costly.

From the resultant free-kick on the edge of the six yard box and Gallagher charged to block Ryan Porteous’ powerful drive.

There was little in the way of attacking intent from either team to excite supporters in the opening salvo of this match.

Hibs threatened in the 19th minute when Paul Hanlon headed wide from 12 yards.

Aberdeen’s Declan Gallagher shields the ball from Hibs’ Elias Melkersen.

Aberdeen threaten through Ferguson

Aberdeen’s first opportunity came via a sublime through-ball from Connor Barron that ripped apart the Hibs defence.

Jonny Hayes burst onto the pass on the left flank and delivered a cross into the box that Lewis Ferguson, racing into the box, met.

Ferguson timed his run perfectly and unleashed a vicious half-volley from 12 yards.

It looked goal-bound but Hanlon blocked. Ferguson and his team-mates appealed for hand-ball but referee Bobby Madden waved play on.

Hibs’ Paul Hanlon tackles Aberdeen’s Jonny Hayes at Easter Road.

Aberdeen keeper Lewis came to the rescue on the half hour mark when the defence failed to close down Elias Melkersen.

He was allowed the time to fire off a low 22-yard right-footed shot, but Lewis got a touch on it to push it wide of the far post.

Hibs keeper Matt Macey was called into action in the 40th minute when diving low at his near post to push Jonny Hayes’ 22-yard free-kick wide.

Half-time: Hibs 0 Aberdeen 0

In the 52nd minute David Bates squared a pass along the outside of the Aberdeen penalty area.

It was intercepted by Joe Newell who unleashed a powerful 20-yard drive, but Declan Gallagher stuck out a leg to make a vital block.

David Bates scores to make it 1-0 Aberdeen against Hibs at Easter Road.

Bates fires Aberdeen into the lead

Aberdeen went ahead when a free-kick delivered to the back post was headed back across goal by Gallagher in the 55th minute.

Centre-back Bates read the knock-down well and showed great composure to fire beyond keeper Macey from six yards.

The two-centre backs combined well to deliver the goal.

Moments later Josh Campbell’s 15-yard header was comfortably saved by keeper Lewis.

Aberdeen centre-back David Bates (r) celebrates after scoring against Hibs.

Aberdeen suffered a blow in the 64th minute when striker Marley Watkins was forced off injured.

Watkins was replaced by Ramirez.

Midfielder Polvara was also taken off after a solid, tidy performance where he looked composed in possession.

Polavara was replaced with Funso Ojo in the 64th minute.

Hibs threatened when Paul Hanlon met a Ewan Henderson free-kick, but his header from the centre of the box went high and wide.

Keeper Lewis produced a magnificent point blank save to deny Newell’s powerful effort from six yards.

Aberdeen’s Jack MacKenzie is brought down by Hibs’ Joe Newell

Hibs hit back with late leveller

Bates should have doubled the Dons’ advantage in the 79th minute when meeting a cross from Jonny Hayes 12 yards out.

However, the defender headed over.

Hibs levelled in the 83rd minute when substitute Sylvester Jasper burst down the left flank and flighted a cross into the box.

James Scott headed the ball back across goal and Paul McGinn slotted in with a right-footed shot.

Full-time: Hibs 1 Aberdeen 1

ABERDEEN (4-2-3-1): Lewis 7; MacKenzie 7 (Montgomery 85), Bates 7, Gallagher 6, McCrorie 6 (Considine 90+6), Ferguson 7, Barron 6, Hayes 6, Polvara 6 (Ojo 64), Besuijen 6, Watkins 6 (Ramirez 64).

Subs: Woods, McGeouch, McLennan, Jenks, Ruth.

HIBERNIAN (3-4-1-2): Maley 6; Clarke 6, Hanlon 6 (Bushiri 88), Porteous 6, Doig 6, Campbell 5  (Jasper 65), Doyle-Hayes 6, McGinn 6, Henderson 6 (Stevenson 88), Newell 6, Melkersen 6.

Subs: Dabrowski, Scott,  Aiken, Hauge, McGregor, Blaney.

Referee: Bobby Madden

Attendance:

Man of the Match: Lewis Ferguson

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