PA Sport

Dons battle past Hibs with Mackay-Steven on the mark

Dons battle past Hibs with Mackay-Steven on the mark
By PA Sport

09/11/2018 at 20:49Updated 09/11/2018 at 22:05

The Scotland winger’s goal earned a 1-0 success.

Scotland winger Gary Mackay-Steven netted his sixth goal of the season as Aberdeen battled Hibs – and the elements – to move level on points with third-place Rangers in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

It was a scrappy affair, with the swirling Pittodrie wind meaning quality football was at a premium and set-pieces looked the likeliest route to goal for both sides.

Indeed Hibs showed some early promise on that front, with captain Mark Milligan heading towards goal after Stevie Mallan’s free-kick spun up off Scott McKenna after just five minutes. The Australian’s header was weak, though, and Shay Logan was well placed to clear.

Logan was involved again a few minutes later, giving away a soft corner from which Mallan’s delivery found Darren McGregor, the former Rangers man seeing his header blocked.

Aberdeen struggled to break forward in the first period, but a clever Mackay-Steven corner presented James Wilson with their first chance, the on-loan Manchester United striker seeing his low near-post effort blocked.

But it was Mackay-Steven who gave the home side the lead, and it was a goal of Hibs’ making.

Ryan Porteous was loose with his pass towards Lewis Stevenson and Mackay-Steven was quick to react, intercepting the pass before firing a low 25-yard strike in at the near post which left keeper Adam Bogdan no chance.

The goal sparked some urgency into the Dons and they finished the half in the ascendency, with Hibs perhaps happy to hear the half-time whistle when it came.

The wind continued to wreak havoc after the interval and Milligan will have been disappointed to head – albeit more convincingly this time – over the bar from a Mallan corner.

Milligan’s pass set Florian Kamberi free to round Joe Lewis just before the hour, only for the Hibs striker to blaze over the crossbar with the goal gaping.

A few minutes later, Max Lowe’s clearance carried in the wind to set Stevie May clear. He knocked the ball past the onrushing Bogdan only for the covering McGregor to slide in and clear.

While Hibs pushed for a leveller until late in the game, they found the Aberdeen defence in typically stubborn form – as they so often have been when the central defensive pairing has been Michael Devlin and McKenna.