Hibernian 0-1 Aberdeen: Lewis Ferguson penalty ends unbeaten start

For the third Dons match running, Lewis Ferguson opened the scoring

Lewis Ferguson’s penalty moved Aberdeen up to fourth in the Scottish Premiership as Hibernian’s unbeaten start to the campaign came to an end.

Ferguson converted after Martin Boyle had fouled Marley Watkins in the first half.

Second-placed Hibs had earlier tested Joe Lewis through Boyle and Josh Doig.

Dylan McGeouch almost doubled the lead in the closing stages, his curling strike turned away by Ofir Marciano.

Hibs had been forced to cancel training on Saturday after Alex Gogic returned a false positive Covid-19 test, with two further tests coming back negative as the player began self isolating for 10 days.

However, the hosts started at a blistering pace and Boyle should have given them the lead in the opening minute. Lewis spilled a cross at the feet of Scott Allan, who squared for Boyle but the winger’s tame effort was straight at the goalkeeper.

Doig tested Lewis from 25 yards, Boyle drew a save with a diagonal shot on the right and Doidge fired over inside the box as Hibs piled on the pressure.

The visitors had their chances too with Ryan Hedges playing a one-two with Scott Wright before being foiled by Marciano and the Israel keeper also kept out a firm Watkins strike.

The defining moment came when Boyle lost control while retreating into the box and chopped down Watkins after the striker pinched possession. Ferguson, as he had done last week against Livingston, converted with confidence.

Hibs head coach Jack Ross made changes in the second half, including a debut for loan signing from Rangers Jamie Murphy, but Aberdeen could have added to their lead with substitutes Curtis Main and McGeouch forcing saves by Marciano.

Man of the match – Ross McCrorie

McCrorie was effective in both halves for Aberdeen and teamed up well with Ferguson in midfield

What did we learn?

The absence of Gogic did not overly affect Hibs’ rhythm and their build-up play in the first half exuded confidence.

What was missing was composure in the final third with the normally reliable Boyle and Doidge unable to capitalise on some sloppy defending.

Aberdeen go from strength to strength and the international break probably comes at an inconvenient time for Derek McInnes.

However, the next two weeks affords the Pittodrie boss time to build up the fitness of players like McGeouch and Main, who had both started the midweek Europa League win against NSI Runavik.

What did they say?

Hibernian head coach Jack Ross: “First half was probably the best we’ve played in the past two or three games. We didn’t make the most of those opportunities. We need to be ruthless.

“The second half suits Aberdeen. We didn’t have that same cutting edge. At the top end of the pitch we need to be better.”

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes: “It wasn’t a perfect performance but it was a perfect outcome. A thoroughly deserved three points.

“We created a few chances, made the keeper work. Our reward for our speed and intensity comes with the penalty. We then had something to hang on to. The biggest danger in the second half was fatigue.”

What’s next?

Hibs visit St Mirren a week on Saturday, when Aberdeen host Kilmarnock. The Pittodrie side will learn their next Europa League qualifying opponents on Monday.

BBC News