This has been a season where the active support of the club/team by fans of our grand old team has reached new highs. Such was the demand for tickets for today’s game the club opened up part of the South Stand to home supporters despite good demand for the same seats from those with a vested interest in the Dons. It is an indicator that the progress made over the last 3 years, on and off the park, is paying dividends. It is also a very tangible endorsement of Neil Lennon and his players.*19, 000 + supporters crammed into ER to see the best two sides in Scotland, outside the East End of Weegeville. They would not be disappointed with the fare. Certainly, the Hibs contingent weren’t…
Having spent the last few days in sunny Valencia, visiting the imposing Mestalla stadium in the process, it wasn’t the glamour of La Liga, Mario Kempes, Rafa Benitez or David Silva that was at the forefront of my mind. It was the feeling of relief at Manises Aeroporto when the wee departures board said my 6am flight from Spain this morning was due to take off as scheduled. I’d be back in Auld Reekie before Baynes on Easter Road would even be open. Back for the only football show in town today….
This game was an opportunity to put pressure on the Reds and make a very clear statement to every other side in the top six that we are not there just to make up the numbers, content to simply settle for mid table security in our first season back.*With the Gorgie mob in action at lunch time, we knew a win would be mighty beneficial in this natural order malarkey. (Does anyone know if they have overtaken us yet)
Earlier in the campaign, Aberdeen left Easter Road with 3 points they barely deserved. Even $#@! Turpin wore a mask…This time there was to be no such injustice, with Hibs dominating the Sheep worriers from start to finish. Many of you will, by the time you have read this, watched the game online or on BBC Heuchter Teuchter. The usual rules apply here…I am only going on what I thought at the game. No telly box coverage is involved in the making of this just back. Some sheep may have been harmed though.
Today,*Hibs lined up with a central 3 of Efe, Darren and Paul. Both the latter making recovery from injuries sustained against Murderwell. Lewis and Boyler were deployed as wing backs with a midfield 3 of our Holy Trinity. Up top, Flo and Jamie partnered each other from the start. The Sheep were minus captain Shinnie – and I think it made a difference to some aspects of the game- so Kenny McLean took the armband…and was lucky to wear it for 90 minutes. Son of Dallas bottled sending him off in the 2nd half. But more of the Dons’ complete discipline breakdown later…
The first half saw Hibs take the game to the opposition and McGinn and McLaren both came close in the first ten minutes.
McLean had a shot on goal (singular) later in the first half but that was the only real action Rocky had to contend with other than the odd cross ball.
After a torrid time in Aberdeen before Christmas, some of the “culprits” that day were on their A game today. Efe and Boyler both were much, much better today and this meant a quiet afternoon for the much hyped GMS…quieter than a midnight swim in the Kelvin.
The game really came to life after the interval…and the Aberdeen team that tends to appear for games in Glasgow, finally showed itself against us. And, by Sauzee, it was a joy to behold…
McLaren, who had been playing like a clever Jason Cummings all afternoon, sitting on the shoulder of the last defender all game, making cute, quick runs onto reverse passes from such as Scott Allan, got through one on one with the Sheep World Champion keeper only to see his shot deflected, a subsequent rebound blocked…but thankfully the ball falling for Martin Boyle to nod into the net.
A few minutes later his strike partner, Flo, turned strongly in the area and directed a deserved 2nd past the keeper. It gave Hibs the confidence to go on to see the game out. Darren, Allan and others came close again and we could have run out even more comfortable winners than we did. But that’s not a criticism. This game was always under control. Make no mistake.
The same could not be said for the opposition who went on to kick everything that moved. Or push it. Or shove it. Or try to go fighting with it. Stupid boy, messing with Darren. McLean should have walked. Make no mistake. Others could have too…the Ferret Brothers, GMS and Christie, likewise.
It was a disciplinary capitulation to match the football one.
The team
Rocky- not much to do but was solid when called on
Boyle – best he has played against his own team. Good goal gave him confidence
Efe – pipe and slippers afternoon. Immaculate.
Darren – battleful best
Paul – some excellent reading of the game and fine challenges
Lewis – he will need to empty Logan from his back pocket tonight
SJM – so disciplined. He knew a booking today would put him out the derby. Polished and professional
Dylan- fine second half and official MotM
Flo – what a titan performance. He soaked up the physical barrage and went back time and time again
McLaren – a clever Jason Cummings. Deserved a goal. Great game.
Scotty Allan – sorry Dylan he was the MotM. You probably think it too. Sweet Sauzee, that was damn fine. I cannot wait for him to get in about the Gunts
Subs – Bartley and Danny came on but just to run down the clock.
The Boss – anyone still whinging about his signings in January?
Next up – The Fat Striker. On this form he won’t be singing.
Now I’m away for some black coffee and BBC Heuchter Teuchter on Sky +. It’s been a long day but travelling 1330 miles this morning to see us this afternoon was worth every beeping beep of the early morning alarm call…