Hibernian V Aberdeen at Easter Road Stadium : Match Preview

23 November 2012 04:01
Hibernian V Aberdeen - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Hibs look to bounce back

Hibernian defender Paul Hanlon aims to continue their trend of responding swiftly to defeat when they face Aberdeen.

Hibs have won five and drawn two of their seven home matches this term and, following a 3-1 loss at Dundee last weekend, are determined to keep the unbeaten streak going at Easter Road against a side one place and three points below them in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

The most recent loss prior to the Dens Park defeat, at Ross County, was followed by a 4-0 win at Motherwell and Hanlon is seeking a similar result.

"We were majorly disappointed after the game at Dundee," the defender said.

"We just need to pick ourselves up like we have done throughout the season.

"When we've had bad results we've bounced back right away. Hopefully we'll do that again this weekend."

Hanlon has been without regular central defensive partner James McPake of late due to the club captain's back injury.

The 22-year-old stand-in skipper is happy with the additional responsibility and is looking to ensure Hibs do not notice McPake's absence, if the defender fails to recover in time for the match.

"It's a bit of an adjustment moving to the right side of defence," said Hanlon, who has been in the back four alongside Ryan McGivern.

"James has helped a lot since he came in. He's a good leader and gives me tips.

"Hopefully I can put a good performance at the weekend and show we don't need him in the team every week."

Defender Tim Clancy (groin) is definitely out, while midfielder Gary Deegan (fractured jaw) has been given permission to return to full training, but will be eased in gently.

Meanwhile, striker Rory Fallon believes Aberdeen can challenge Celtic for the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title and victory at Hibs can be achieved by stopping Leigh Griffiths.

Griffiths is the top scorer in the SPL this term with 13 and Fallon believes the on-loan Wolves striker's goals are the main reason for Hibs' lofty position.

"I think they're doing well, but when they came here I thought they struggled," he said of Aberdeen's 2-1 win at Pittodrie in September.

"I feel their strikers are dragging their team along. Griffiths, if we stop him, they won't score.

"He's the one getting all the goals. I believe that we're a better team than them. Obviously we'll have to prove that on the day."

Victory at Easter Road would take the Dons to second in the SPL, separated from their hosts by goal difference, but Fallon's sights are set even higher as his side aim to respond from the 2-0 loss to leaders Celtic.

"Some people are happy for Celtic to go off and win it, but I'm one of those guys that believes we can win it," the New Zealand forward said.

"If people believe Celtic are going to win it, they're going to win it.

"If we don't believe we can do well and push up higher, then what's the point of even playing?

"I really don't see the point in people just giving Celtic the title already. "That's not how I work. I work through belief and having faith.

"Celtic have probably got the biggest squad, but we've got the strongest squad after them."

Ryan Fraser, Clark Robertson and Gavin Rae are doubtful.

Robertson's injury is unspecified while Fraser has a hip problem and Rae a hamstring injury. The trio will undergo late fitness tests.

Gary Naysmith, Stephen Hughes, Ryan Jack and Rob Milsom are out, with youngsters Declan McManus, Stephen O'Neill and Jamie Masson included in the travelling party.

Source: PA