Hibernian 0-0 Aberdeen: Match Report

22 April 2013 10:01
Hibernian 0-0 Aberdeen: Match Report - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game as it happened.

Dons draw a blank

Derek McInnes' first game as Aberdeen boss ended in a goalless draw against Hibernian in their Clydesdale Bank Premier League encounter at Easter Road.

The Pittodrie men stayed one point ahead of Hibs in eighth place but may count themselves fortunate as the Leith side created most of the chances, albeit during the course of a rather lacklustre game.

McInnes, though, will now know what he has to do to get the Pittodrie men back into the top half of the table next season, which, on this evidence, is quite a bit.

Hibs' top scorer Leigh Griffiths, who scored the winner when the Easter Road side came back from 3-0 down to Falkirk to win 4-3 in their William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden last week, missed a couple of decent chances to add to his 25 goals this season in a tepid first half.

Eoin Doyle struck the post after the break after Danny Handling had missed a good chance while defender Paul Hanlon came close with a header later on, while home keeper Ben Williams was a virtual spectator for most of the evening.

Former St Johnstone and Bristol City boss McInnes had waited four weeks to pick his first Dons team and he brought in Clark Robertson and Rob Milsom with Gary Naysmith and Scott Vernon starting on the bench.

Hibs boss Pat Fenlon made four changes to his team with Lewis Stevenson, Tom Taiwo, Handling and Doyle in for the suspended Ryan McGivern with Jorge Claros on the bench and injured Scott Robertson and Paul Cairney out altogether.

Inside a rather sedated Easter Road, the game cranked slowly, almost reluctantly, into life.

An ambitious overhead kick by Griffiths from six yards out in the 11th minute earned a round of applause from the home fans but did not trouble Dons keeper Jamie Langfield.

Milsom was booked for a foul on Easter Road midfielder Kevin Thomson two minutes later in what was the first real act of aggression of the evening.

The Aberdeen midfielder then showed a better side to his game when he managed to get a cross in from wide on the left, tight to the byeline, but it was headed over the bar by Johnny Hayes.

The first clear-cut chance of the match fell to Griffiths in the 24th minute when he won a race with Dons defender Mark Reynolds to latch on to Hibs skipper James McPake's long, headed clearance, but his right-footed drive from inside the box was well saved by Langfield.

The on-loan Wolves striker spurned another opportunity moments later when he fired wide from even closer to goal.

The game drifted aimlessly towards the interval, almost as aimless as Thomson's 30-yard drive three minutes before the break which sped well wide of the target.

Hibs should have taken the lead a minute into the second half when Griffiths galloped down the left and played the ball across to the unmarked Handling but his shot went straight to the grateful Langfield.

The home side, if nothing else, looked more determined. A good run and cross by Hibs defender Tim Clancy in the 54th minute ended up at the feet of Doyle 12 yards from goal but although he dispatched his shot quickly enough, the ball crashed off Langfield's right-hand post and away to safety.

At the other end, following the briefest spell of Dons pressure, Milsom fired wide from the edge of the box with an effort that typified the Pittodrie side's contribution to the evening up until that point.

Hayes' effort from a similar range in the 65th minute was at least on target but Williams gathered comfortably.

Vernon replaced Josh Magennis and Peter Pawlett came on for Milsom moments later as McInnes tried to shake some life into his side, but to no avail.

Ross Caldwell replaced Doyle in the 74th minute, seconds before defender Paul Hanlon's header from a Griffiths corner was cleared away at the far post by Pawlett.

With six minute remaining Langfield had to move sharply to claw away a powerful long-distance drive from Griffiths, who had seconds earlier wasted a free-kick, with Aberdeen, almost inevitably, surviving the corner in a game which was destined to remain goalless.

Source: PA