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Aberdeen 0-0 Hibs – The Verdict: Player ratings, talking points and star man as Kelle Roos saves late penalty

Aberdeen face a fitness sweat over striker Duk for the trip to face Hearts as the 23-year-old came off midway through the second half with a hamstring problem

Aberdeen goalkeeper Kelle Roos celebrates at full time against Hibs. Image: SNS.
Aberdeen goalkeeper Kelle Roos celebrates at full time against Hibs. Image: SNS.

Aberdeen remain five points clear in the race to finish third spot despite a frustrating goalless stalemate against Hibs at Pittodrie.

The Gothenburg Greats were at Pittodrie to witness the match but the Dons could not deliver a performance, or win, to go with the emotion of their return.

It took a penalty save by Kelle Roos in the 79th minute to secure a draw.

Although under-par the Dons fought to grind out a valuable point in the bid to finish third.

That point’s value became all the more significant when news filtered through that fourth-placed Hearts had netted a leveller six minutes into injury time to draw 2-2 at St Mirren.

Aberdeen are five points clear of fourth-placed Hearts ahead of  a crunch showdown at Tynecastle next Saturday.

Hibs’ Kevin Nisbet see’s his penalty saved by Aberdeen’s Kelle Roos. Image: SNS.

Finishing third can land a UEFA cash prize of around £3million and European football until December – if Celtic win the Scottish Cup.

In the 79th minute a shot from Harry McKirdy was adjudged, following a VAR review, to have struck Hayden Coulson’s hand.

Keeper Roos came to the rescue for a below-par Dons by saving Kevin Nisbet’s spot-kick which was fired down the middle.

Hibs’ Élie Youan also hit the woodwork twice with a shot in the 50th minute striking the post and a header cracking off the bar in the build-up to the penalty.

Aberdeen face a fitness sweat on striker Duk who came off in the 71st minute with a hamstring problem.

Aberdeen’s Hayden Coulson celebrates with keeper Kelle Roos who saves a penalty from Kevin Nisbet. Image: SNS.

Talking points

Roos to the rescue to deliver another shut-out

Aberdeen keeper Roos salvaged a vital point with a late penalty save and a series of key saves.

Hibs carried the more potent threat throughout  but Dutch stopper Roos was up to the challenge.

Such is the attacking form of Hibs the Easter Road side had scored in each of their last 14 Premiership games (27 goals) prior to the Pittodrie clash.

However Roos ended that scoring form, Hibs’ longest run of scoring in consecutive top-flight matches since August 2003.

Aberdeen’s Kelle Roos in action against Hibs. Image: SNS.

Keeper Roos and the three centre-backs in front of him are making Pittodrie a defensive fortress.

His penalty save ensured Aberdeen’s Premiership clean sheet run at Pittodrie extended to five straight games.

That is the longest league shut-out run at Pittodrie since February 2012.

In truth there was also a stroke of luck in this clean sheet as Hibs twice hit the wood through Élie Youan efforts.

Roos is second in the Premiership shut out table with 12 clean sheets from 28 games.

He is second only to Celtic’s Joe Hart who has 15 shut-outs in 34 matches.

Against Hibs Roos made five key saves and also stopped a penalty.

Roos also claimed three crosses into the box. He brings a calmness and solidity to the keeper’s role which spreads from the back and through the team.

The keeper has been one of the players of the season for Aberdeen.

Aberdeen flags commemorating the Gothenburg Greats. Image: SNS.

Aberdeen’s right-back, right wing-back conundrum

Aberdeen’s lack of depth at right wing-back and right-back needs to be addressed with at least two signings in that position during the summer transfer window.

For the second game in succession left-back Hayden Coulson played in the right wing back role due to the absence of Ross McCrorie.

Vice-captain McCrorie, who has operated at right-wing back, is currently sidelined having recently undergone hernia surgery.

Coulson was primarily up against left winger Youan who was allowed the space to twice hit the woodwork.

Aberdeen’s Bojan Miovski and Hibs’ Paul Hanlon (L) in action. Image: SNS.

On-loan defender Coulson also came close to scoring a superb goal in the 44th minute when volleying inches over from 20 yards at the end of a quick-fire passing move.

Coulson is set to return to parent club Middlesbrough, where he recently signed a new deal, at the end of the season.

Aberdeen are also in talks with Bristol City over a potential £2 million summer transfer of McCrorie to the Championship outfit.

Meanwhile, Jayden Richardson was on the bench against Hibs.

Richardson was a £300,000 signing from Nottingham Forest last summer to fill in the right-back void opened up by Calvin Ramsay’s transfer to Liverpool.

Hibs’ Joe Newell (L) chases down Aberdeen’s Luis “Duk” Lopes (R) at Pittodrie. Image: SNS.

However he has struggled to make an impact in recent months.

Richardson finally got game time under Barry Robson when coming off the bench in the 82nd minute against Hibs to replace Coulson.

It is only the second time Richardson has featured this year.

His only previous game-time in 2023 came in a 5-0 loss to Hearts under former boss Jim Goodwin for just 19 minutes.

Richardson is not starting  at right-back, wing-back when McCrorie is out.

Aberdeen are understood to be in advanced talks with Livingston right-back Nicky Devlin with the view to a summer move to Pittodrie.

Livingston skipper Devlin, 29, is out of contract at the end of the season.

Securing Devlin would be a positive move towards fixing the right-back, wing-back conundrum but would not completely fix it.

At least one more signing in that position would be required to provide cover and competition.

Aberdeen centre-back Liam Scales in action against Hibs at Pittodrie. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

Stunning displays in celebration of Gothenburg Greats

Aberdeen celebrated the Gothenburg Greats but could not deliver a win to end the day on a high.

A commemorative plaque near the main entrance at the Main Stand was  unveiled in honour of the club’s greatest ever team prior to kick-off.

Just a day earlier the Gothenburg Greats and Aberdeen FC had received the Freedom of the City at a ceremony at Pittodrie.

The Gothenburg Greats are welcomed onto the pitch before Aberdeen’s match with Hibs. Photo: SNS

Inspirational skipper Willie Miller carried the trophy onto the pitch before kick-off.

As the legends stood in the centre-circle the Red Army raised the Pittodrie roof, singing The European Song.

The Red Shed unveiled a breathtaking banner that spanned the entire length of the stand.

It read ‘HEROES’ and was emblazoned with image of the Gothenburg Greats, in front of the Ullevi Stadium.

The Dick Donald Stand also produced a stunning display with every fan holding up white or red placards to read 1983.

The Gothenburg Greats did the club and the Granite City proud by dominating Europe.

Aberdeen supporters reciprocated that 40 years on by showing their enduring gratitude, and doing the club legends proud.

It was fitting that the club’s greatest ever team should be celebrated in a home league clash with Hibs.

A banner is unveiled in the Red Shed to commemorate the Gothenburg Greats. Photo by SNS.

Aberdeen’s first match after winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup was against Hibs at Pittodrie on May 14, 1983.

Pittodrie was a 24,000 sell-out to welcome Sir Alex Ferguson’s Euro conquering Reds who triumphed 5-0.

However Barry Robson’s side were unable to deliver the same outcome.

Talking Tactics

Aberdeen boss Barry Robson retained the same starting XI that were narrowly edged out 1-0 by Rangers at Ibrox.

Robson made a slight tweak to his formation in switching from the 3-5-2 used at Ibrox to a 3-4-1-2 against Hibs.

Teenager Ryan Duncan was moved into a more advanced role in the hole between the midfield four and strike duo Bojan Miovski and Duk.

Referee watch

Nick Walsh brandished the first card of the game after just 50 seconds when showing Liam Scales yellow for a challenge on Joe Newell.

Aberdeen fans were left incensed and calling for a straight red when when Josh Campbell fouled Scales in the 59th minute.

Following a VAR review Walsh showed a yellow to Campbell.

A penalty award for handball also came following a VAR review.

Both Hibs’ Josh Campbell and Aberdeen’s Liam Scales go down during a challenge. Photo by SNS.

Player ratings

ABERDEEN  (3-4-1-2): Roos 7; Pollock 7, MacDonald 7, Scales 6; Coulson 6 (Richardson 82), Ramadani 6, Clarkson 6, Hayes 7; Duncan 6 (Markanday 58); Miovski 6 (Watkins 82), Duk 6 (Morris 71)

Subs not used: Lewis, MacKenzie, Barron,  , Kennedy, Bavidge.

HIBS (4-1-4-1): Marshall 6; Egan-Riley 6 , Fish 6, Hanlon 7, Stevenson 7; Jeggo 7; Cadden 6 (McKirdy 73) Campbell 6 (Henderson 60), Newell 6, Youan 7; Nisbet 6

Subs not used: Johnson, Miller, Cabraja, Hoppe, Devlin,  Bushiri,  Delferriere

Attendance: 18,620

Star man

Kelle Roos (Aberdeen) – The keeper delivered a vital penalty save to deny Kevin Nisbet. However this performance was about more than the spot-kick save.

Roos pitched in with five key saves to keep Hibs at bay.