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Aberdeen 0-2 Hibernian – The Verdict: Player ratings, talking points and star man as Dons beaten at home by Hibernian

Aberdeen's wait for a first league win continues following poor Pittodrie display.

Hibernian's Adam Le Fondre celebrates his opening goal against Aberdeen. Image: SNS
Hibernian's Adam Le Fondre celebrates his opening goal against Aberdeen. Image: SNS

Aberdeen’s wait for a league win continues as the Dons slumped to a 2-0 home defeat by Hibernian at Pittodrie.

Both sides met looking for their first league win of the campaign and it was the managerless Hibees who got it thanks to two goals in the closing 15 minutes.

The result lifts Hibs up to 10th in the Premiership above the Dons who drop to 11th, level with bottom club St Johnstone.

The Dons should have been ahead inside the opening two minutes with right wing-back Nicky Devlin squandering a great chance for Barry Robson’s side when he headed over from inside the six yard box.

But it was the visitors who had the better of the early chances thereafter as Will Fish headed over before Dons goalkeeper Kelle Roos was called into action to keep out a Martin Boyle shot from Hibs.

The home side gradually came back into the game and finished the first half in the ascendancy with Hibs goalkeeper David Marshall called into action twice to save efforts from the edge of the box from Bojan Miovski.

Aberdeen failed to maintain their momentum in the second half however, with a James McGarry deflected shot, which was saved by Marshall, their best chance before Hibs struck twice in five minutes to secure victory.

Substitute Adam Le Fondre got the opener, firing past Roos after Joe Newell lay-off from Christian Doidge’s cutback gave him sight of goal.

With the Dons defence failing to clear their lines, Doidge headed past Roos to double the visitors’ lead.

Talking points

Where is the Duk of old?

Dons fans are waiting for Duk to find his form of last season. Image: SNS

There has been much debate among Aberdeen fans at the sluggish start made to the campaign by Duk.

The Cape Verde international, a cult hero among the Red Army following a fine first season in Scottish football, has not looked as sharp in the opening games.

This display suggests he still has a long way to go before he gets there.

As this game wore on the Dons went from allowing Hibs all the time they wanted on the ball to forcing the visitors back towards the edge of their own area.

That gave Duk opportunities to influence the game and there were one-on-one opportunities which would have been capitalised on by the player of last season.

Duk worked hard for the cause but so far he has lacked the sharpness and cutting edge which he had in abundance.

There is still some way to go before we see the Duk of old in full flow – and of course the wait for a first goal of the season continues.

Dons fans will be hoping a goal is all their cult hero needs to get his campaign up and running.

Dons defensive issues continue

Aberdeen goalkeeper Kelle Roos saves from Hibernian’s Elie Youan. Image: SNS

Another game, another defensive combination from Aberdeen manager Barry Robson.

This time it was a back three of Slobodan Rubezic, Angus MacDonald and Richard Jensen which started for the Dons and it’s fair to say it was a mixed bag.

Rubezic’s aggressive play led to him receiving an early booking and he endured a tough afternoon up against Hibernian’s Elie Youan.

With Nicky Devlin and James McGarry pushing forward at every opportunity down the flanks the Dons back three were effectively one on one at the back against Hibernian’s forward line.

Rubezic was the one who struggled most in the challenge and it took a fine save from Kelle Roos to keep out a Youan effort after he had burst past Rubezic to bear in on goal.

The big man struggled and it was no surprise to see a reshuffle at the break with Rubezic making way for Shayden Morris as part of a tactical reshuffle to 4-3-3.

Connor Barron’s chance to impress

The 21-year-old was handed his first start of the season in place of Leighton Clarkson.

Barron, who is in the final season of his contract with the club, was given the holding role in front of the Aberdeen back three with captain Graeme Shinnie and Jamie McGrath given free licence to roam ahead of him.

It was Barron winning the ball which led to a chance being created for Duk and he was a lively figure in the first half as he showed a willingness to push forward and get involved in his side’s attacks too whenever possible.

Barron, who busy throughout his time on the pitch, was replaced just after the hour mark by Clarkson.

Talking tactics

Aberdeen boss Barry Robson will have much to ponder during the international break. Image: SNS

No surprises here from Barry Robson as the Dons manager continued with the 3-5-2 formation which has been the blueprint since he took charge in January.

The return of Angus MacDonald to the starting line-up allowed Nicky Devlin to return to right wing back and the width of both Devlin and James McGarry was a feature of Aberdeen’s forays forward.

Robson reshuffled his team for the second half, withdrawing Rubezic as he switched to a 4-3-3 formation.

The change did not make the Dons any more resolute as Hibs struck with 15 minutes remaining to claim victory.

Referee watch

David Munro was the man in the middle for this one and he presided over a stop-start 90 minutes at Pittodrie.

A day of niggling fouls reduced this game to a niggling, combative affair with clear-cut chances for either side at a premium.

Munro for his part, was far from popular with the home support after giving a goal kick when Duk went down in the box but VAR suggests the official got his decision spot-on.

But that was the only real incident of note for the official to deal with.

Munro handed out bookings to Rubezic and Shinnie of the Dons with Hanlon, Campbell, Jeggo and Newell of the visitors also being yellow carded in the game.

Aberdeen 0 Hibernian 2: Player ratings

ABERDEEN (3-5-2): Roos 6, MacDonald 6, Rubezic (Morris 46 (Sokler 62) 4, Jensen 6, Devlin 6, McGrath 6, Shinnie (Polvara 76) 6, Barron (Clarkson 62) 6, McGarry 6, Miovski 5, Duk (Gueye 79) 5.

Subs not used: Doohan, MacKenzie, Hayes, Duncan.

HIBERNIAN (4-3-3): Marshall 6, Miller 6, Fish 6, Hanlon 7, Stevenson 7, Campbell (Le Fondre 66) 5, Jeggo 6, Newell 7, Boyle 7, Vente (Doidge 71) 6, Youan 7.

Subs not used: Boruc, Harbottle, Delferriere, Bushiri, Molotnikov, McAllister, Megwa.

Attendance: 16,471.

Star man

Elie Youan.