Hibs came from behind to grab a deserved share of the points against Aberdeen following a pulsating 90 minutes at Easter Road this afternoon.
Neil Lennon made two changes to the starting XI that beat Ross Country last Sunday. Adam Bogdan replaced Ross Laidlaw in goals whilst Steven Whittaker took over from Emerson Hyndman in midfield.
Florian Kamberi and Darren McGregor both missed out due to injury and new signing Mark Milligan’s international clearance has still to come through. Manchester City youngster Thomas Agyepong started on the bench along with Sean Mackie who impressed the Hibs’ coach with a goal scoring performance for the reserves on Monday.
Hibs started brightly and had a penalty claim in the 6th minute when Joe Lewis fumbled Paul Hanlon’s shot and Martin Boyle was bundled over as he was going for the rebound.
Whittaker then set up Daryl Horgan but the winger’s effort struck the side netting.
Hibs almost took the lead in the 15th minute when Stevie Mallan played in Lewis Stevensn who found Horgan unmarked in the middle of the park. The Irishman took a touch before unleashing a superb strike which looked destined for the top corner of the net but Lewis produced a fantastic save to keep the score at 0-0.
Referee Andrew Dallas incurred the wrath of the Hibs’ fans when David Gray flick a pass to Martin Boyle who was grabbed round the neck an Aberdeen defender but advantage was played when none was apparent.
Graeme Shinnie was fortunate to escape a booking for a reckless challenge on Mallan and once again the referee’s lack of action resulted in fury from the home supporters.
Aberdeen then had a sustained spell of pressure and it took a great save from Bogdan to prevent Lewis Ferguson giving them the lead.
In the 36th minute Boyle took advantage of a mix up in the Dons’ defence but after cutting in from the left his shot was turned round the post by Lewis.
It was the Aberdeen fans turn to complain about the referee when he denied them a penalty after Paul Hanlon appeared to trip Ferguson inside the area but Dallas wasn’t interested, sparking a furious reaction from Derek McInnes.
The visitors took the lead with the last action of the first half when Gary McKay-Steven’s long corner was headed back across goal by Stevie May into the danger area and Tommie Hoban was on hand to tap the ball into the net from close range.
Dallas left the field at half time to a chorus of boos from both sets of fans.
Hoban was booked just after the restart for stopping Shaw with an arm across his face before Lewis did well to punch away Mallan’s strike.
Andrew Considine required treatment after defending Shaw’s overhead kick attempt then a good team move ended with Whittaker firing over the bar from 25-yards.
Stevenson’s name was next into the referee’s book for bringing down McKay-Stevens on the edge of the box and Bogdan did well to save Ferguson’s free kick.
The visitors had a sustained spell of pressure and looked dangerous, especially from corner kicks but the Hibs’ defence did well to keep the score at 1-0.
Stevenson’s long ball found Boyle on the right and the winger’s low cross to Shaw was cleared as Hibs started to pile on the pressure.
Boyle was causing problems for the Dons’ defence down the right wing and Shinnie was booked for protesting after bringing the winger down just outside the box.
In the 75th minute, Jamie MacLaren replaced Stevenson and this proved to be an inspired substitution.
With six minutes remaining, Efe Ambrose brought the ball out of defence and found Whittaker on the right. He passed infield to Horgan who appeared to have over run the ball before sending an exquisite reveres through ball into the path of Hanlon. The Hibs’ defender calmly fired the ball across goal into the path of MacLaren who knocked the ball into the net from close range.
Hibs then pressed for the winner and two Aberdeen players were booked during one run from Boyle.
The match ended in controversy when Ryan Porteous was booked for tripping Mackay-Steven who got up and knocked the youngster to the ground. With the whole stadium expecting a red card Dallas once again sparked fury by only producing a yellow.
Hanlon headed away his free-kick and the final whistle blew.
The referee once again left the field to boos from throughout the stadium.
Hibs: Bogdan, Ambrose, Porteous, Hanlon, Gray, Stevenson, Mallan, Whittaker, Horgan, Boyle, Shaw. Subs Laidlaw, Slivka, MacLaren, Swanson, Agyepong, Hyndman, Mackie
Aberdeen: Lewis, Shinnie, Consadine, Gleeson, Mackay-Steven, May, Devlin, Ferguson, Ball, Ross, Hoban. Subs: Cerny, Logan, Forrester, Wilson, McGinn, Cosgrove, Anderson
Referee Andrew Dallas