Match report as Hibernian secure third place in the Scottish Premiership over opponents Aberdeen; Christian Doidge scores only goal of the game at Pittodrie; Aberdeen miss a series of chances to score and are set to finish in fourth
Wednesday 12 May 2021 22:20, UK
Christian Doidge’s first-half goal ensured Hibernian will finish the Scottish Premiership season in third place after they beat Aberdeen 1-0.
Doidge’s powerful strike on the half-volley just before the interval at Pittodrie means Aberdeen can no longer catch their Edinburgh rivals, who also have the Scottish Cup final to look forward to.
Welshman Doidge’s goal was the highlight of a first half in which both sides played neat football but the goalkeepers were rarely tested.
The home side could have been in front after 39 minutes as Ryan Hedges’ mis-kick presented Callum Hendry with an excellent opportunity 15 yards out, but the on-loan St Johnstone striker fluffed his lines and sent his effort well over the crossbar.
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TH🥉RD PLACE SECURED! ✅
His profligacy was quickly punished, as Hibs were soon in front. Darren McGregor’s long ball out of defence set up the chance, with Doidge working hard to win the ball before it sat up kindly for him to drill past goalkeeper Gary Woods from just outside the area.
Aberdeen could have levelled before the break as Hendry peeled off his man to meet Connor McLennan’s right-wing cross with a powerful header, but Matt Macey was well-placed to grasp the ball.
Hibs should have been out of sight three minutes after the interval when Martin Boyle sized up a fine cross to the back post, but Jackson Irvine was unable to direct his shot on target after a good first touch.
The home side needed to win to stay in the race for third, and Hedges will have been disappointed with his finish into the side-netting after being granted all the time in the world to turn in the Hibs area.
Florian Kamberi also had a good opening after fine build-up play from Hendry in the area, but the Albania forward somehow sent his effort well wide.
The game opened up as Aberdeen pushed for a leveller, with Niall McGinn and Fraser Hornby thrown on in attacking positions, but Hibs were happy to soak up the pressure and hit on the counter, with their own substitute Jamie Murphy stinging the palms of Woods with a decent strike from distance.
And ultimately, Jack Ross’ men did what they had to to seal that third spot they had targeted.
What does it mean for Europe?
Hibs and Aberdeen are already assured of their places in the new Europa Conference League and will enter at the second qualifying round.
But Hibs could yet play in the Europa League; a place in the play-off round of Europe’s second-tier club competition goes to the winners of the Scottish Cup.
If Hibs beat St Johnstone on May 22, they would enter the Europa League and their Europa Conference place would go to whoever finishes fifth in the league.
Aberdeen finish their Scottish Premiership season at champions Rangers on Saturday, live on Sky Sports. Hibernian will also welcome Celtic in their final league game. Both games kick-off at 12.30pm.
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