Hibs secured third place in the table with a victory over Aberdeen at Pittodrie tonight thanks to a tremendous strike from Christian Doidge.
Head Coach Jack Ross made two changes to the starting XI that beat Dundee United in the Scottish Cup semi-final on Saturday with Darren McGregor and Alex Gogic replacing Ryan Porteous and Joe Newell.
Matt Macey kept his place in goal despite Ross stating beforehand that Ofir Marciano would start. The Israeli international however wasn’t on the bench suggesting a late injury.
Aberdeen made one change to the team that beat Livingston on their last outing with Ryan Hedges making his first start since February relacing Niall McGinn. Former Hibs’ striker Florian Kamberi started up front for the ‘Dons with Scottish Cup winner Dylan McGeouch in midfield.
Hibs went into the game knowing that one point would virtually secure third place in the table for the first time since the days of Tony Mowbray and the ‘golden generation’ of youngsters.
The hosts had the first clear chance in the 14th minute with a corner straight from the training ground. McGeouch sent a low cross into the area which Kamberi dummied but Tommy Hoban mishit his effort which flew over the bar.
At the other end Kevin Nisbet cut in from the left and tried his luck from an acute angle but Gary Woods saved easily.
Melker Hallberg sent a long free-kick into the box but Doidge’s long range header didn’t cause Woods any problems.
Kamberi then set up Ryan Hedges with a superb through ball but McGregor dealt with the danger well and outmuscled the ‘Dons’ striker.
Another long free-kick from Hallberg found Doidge at the back post but his header was cleared to Paul McGinn who tried a long-range effort which deflected off McGeouch for a corner.
Aberdeen should have scored in the 38th minute when Kamberi found Hedges inside the area. He mishit his shot and the ball fell to Callum Hendry but his first time effort from eight yards flew high over the bar.
Five minutes before the break a long ball from McGregor was won by Josh Doig. His header was flicked on by Jackson Irvine into the path of Doidge who fired home a tremendous half-volley from just outside the area to give Hibs the lead.
Just before the break Lewis Ferguson’s powerful header from Connor McLennan’s cross was well saved by Macey.
Hibs started the second-half on the front foot and almost doubled their lead in the 46th minute when Martin Boyle’s was controlled at the back post by Irvine who tried to lob the keeper but the ball struck the crossbar.
McGregor then headed a Hallberg free-kick over the bar before Hedges did well to turn inside the area but his shot struck the side net whilst Hallberg suffered a knock trying to block the effort.
He was replaced by Kyle Magennis then moments later Kamberi fired high over the bar from the edge of the area.
Gogig did well to find Boyle on the right wing but his low cross went between Doidge and Kevin Nisbet.
At the other end Macey produced a fine save to deny Hedges and Jack Ross then made a double substitution, replacing Doig and Nisbet with Lewis Stevenson and Jamie Murphy.
Murphy went close with a powerful strike from the edge of the area which Woods saved at the near post.
Irvine had a chance to wrap things up following a poor clearance but his first-time effort went well wide.
In the dying minutes Ferguson was booked for a trip on Murphy, Andy Considine was shown a yellow card for a cynical trip on Boyle and Paul McGinn received the same punishment for pulling back Kamberi.
Aberdeen: Woods, MacKenzie, Considine, Hoban, Hayes, McLennan, McGeouch, Ferguson, Hedges, Hendry, Kamberi. Subs: Ritchie, Hornby, McGinn, Ross, Campbell, Gallagher, Ruth, Kennedy, Ramsay
Hibs: Macey, Hanlon, McGregor, McGinn, Doig, Hallberg, Irvine, Gogic, Nisbet, Boyle, Doidge. Subs: Dabrowski, Gray, Magennis, Wright, Stevenson, Porteous, Murphy, Newell.
Referee John Beaton