Hibernian 1 – 0 Aberdeen

Ryan Porteous started Shaun Maloney’s era at the Hibernian in a winning way after scoring the only goal in a close game against Aberdeen.

The defender headed from Martin Boyle’s corner in the 64th minute to bring the hosts back to fifth place in the Scottish Premiership.

In a game of few chances, a goal was always likely to decide the game.

After just two days on the training ground with his new players, former Belgium assistant manager Maloney could draw a lot of encouragement from his first match as a manager.

Despite looking dangerous in the first half, the Dons fought for ideas in the third final and dropped to seventh in the standings.

Maloney made three changes to the squad, with Scott Allan, Josh Doig and Chris Cadden replacing Joe Newell, Lewis Stevenson and Jamie Murphy.

Aberdeen suffered a pre-match blow when team lineups confirmed captain Scott Brown was absent due to illness. The guests were also without the suspended Ross McCrorie.

There was little between the teams during the early stages.

Ryan Porteous cheers after the second-half win

Hibs had a lot of energy as he tried to impress their new boss, but Aberdeen wasn’t overly concerned.

The Don gradually took territorial advantage and created several half-chances.

The first came after 15 minutes when Jay Emmanuel-Thomas’s shot from 18 yards was deflected by Doig.

Dean Campbell then hit a drive for the first time from 25 yards just to the side of Matt Macey’s post.

Moments later, Macey was called in to produce a good save, this time going down to his right to push behind a sharp Lewis Ferguson drive.

Hibs created the last chance of the first period just before the half hour, Boyle’s shot from a Doig cut-back was blocked before Kevin Nisbet then directed the rebound on the Joe Lewis crossbar.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 22: Hibernians Ryan Porteous puts Hibernian 1-0 up during a Cinch Premiership match between Hibernian and Aberdeen at Easter Road, on December 22, 2021, in Edinburgh, Scotland.  (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Porteous waved home from a corner

Aberdeen right-back Calvin Ramsay made his first appearance after sustaining a thigh injury in the Oct. 23 win against Hibs, when the highly rated teenager stepped off the bench at half-time to replace Emmanuel-Thomas.

But it was Hibs who got the first real chance of the second half when a short 30-yard free-kick was picked up by Boyle, only for his low drive that was well held back by Lewis.

However, Hibs broke the deadlock in the 64th minute with Porteous. Boyle floated into a tantalizing corner and Porteous jumped high to head Lewis from six yards.

Aberdeen built up pressure towards the end, but Hibs’ defense held out to claim victory.

What the managers said

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New Hibernian manager Shaun Maloney reflects on a winning start after seeing his side beat Aberdeen 1-0 at Easter Road

Hibernian manager Shaun Maloney: “I am very proud of the players because they played as they did after two sessions, showing courage.

“In the second half, the way they defended in the last 15 minutes was incredible, considering what happened in the final.

“They were incredible, really, considering that they joined Hampden. The staff worked very hard, but the players were really, really open-minded.

“I didn’t really feel the pressure. I felt like it was part of the process. I’m really happy, the president (Ron Gordon) is happy.”

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Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass lamented his side’s lack of quality in the last third after losing 1-0 at Hibernian.

Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass: “It’s disappointing. Every time you lose it’s disappointing. We seemed to lack some energy, which was the biggest disappointment.

“We should have been fresh from three wins. The match was really poor, with few chances

“I don’t think Hibs really deserved to win, but he conceded the goal from a set piece. Neither team did enough on open play.”

What’s next?

Both teams will return to action in the Scottish Premiership on Boxing Day. Hibernian travels to Dundee United while Aberdeen hosts Dundee. Both games start at 3pm.

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