Hibee history: Aberdeen 0-1 Hibs

ABERDEEN V. HIBS, 22.10.05. DEREK RIORDAN POUNCES ON A MISTAKE IN THE DONS DEFENCE TO SLOT HOME HIBS WINNING GOAL.

ABERDEEN V. HIBS, 22.10.05. DEREK RIORDAN POUNCES ON A MISTAKE IN THE DONS DEFENCE TO SLOT HOME HIBS WINNING GOAL.

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DEREK Riordan collected his seventh goal of the season to ensure Hibs’ victory by the narrowest margin, but it was the crushing culpability of Zander Diamond during one terrible decisive moment that the Easter Road faithful had to thank for their victory. Had the hapless Aberdeen defender not swiped fresh air when trying to snuff out substitute Ivan Sproule’s rather innocuous cross, the ball would never have trundled into the path of Riordan who tucked it over the line.

DEREK Riordan collected his seventh goal of the season to ensure Hibs’ victory by the narrowest margin, but it was the crushing culpability of Zander Diamond during one terrible decisive moment that the Easter Road faithful had to thank for their victory. Had the hapless Aberdeen defender not swiped fresh air when trying to snuff out substitute Ivan Sproule’s rather innocuous cross, the ball would never have trundled into the path of Riordan who tucked it over the line.

Aberdeen may have lost this match but it was virtually by default. Not that their high-flying opponents would be bothered aboutthat.

Hibs had pipped Aberdeen to the prize of European football the previous summer on goal difference and although the Easter Road club’s experience of the Uefa Cup was fleeting, one imagined an element of revenge in Aberdeen’s approach.

The away side emphasised their superior table position by appearing the more accomplished early on though, the terrible twosome of Riordan and Gary O’Connor demanding the Aberdeen defence remained on its toes.

Guillaume Beuzelin made room in the Aberdeen box for an attempt that was diverted over the crossbar by the head of Riordan. At the other end, the tireless Kevin McNaughton threaded a cutback to Stevie Crawford but the striker, awkwardly digging the ball from under his own feet, could only manage a tame shot that was comfortably saved by Hibs goalkeeper Zbigniew Malkowski.

O’Connor, who had endured a dry spell on the goal front, had a decent drive blocked and Riordan lined up to volley over from distance, but it was 
Aberdeen who finished the first-half with a flurry of 
chances. Darren Mackie teed up Scott Severin, but the former Hearts man dragged it wide, before a McNaughton long-ranger was turned past the post by Malkowski.

The Hibs goalkeeper was relieved after jumping with Mackie only to spill the ball to Barry Nicholson, whose blast was denied by the attentive Gary Caldwell.

Disaster befell the Dons shortly after the break and, really, it came from nothing. Granted Sproule fired in a decent centre from the right flank but the Aberdeen rearguard seemed to have it covered. What no-one had accounted for was Diamond’s costly lapse, the ball passing horribly under his studs for the grateful Riordan to stick it in the net.

Everyone in red looked stunned, and Hibs almost added a second goal as O’Connor, amid a cluster of Aberdeen defenders, rattled an elevated smash off the fortunate Ryan Esson’s crossbar after tenacious work by substitute Scott Brown, who had come on for Riordan. No sooner was he on the field than he became embroiled in a scurrilous altercation with Hart that saw both players booked.

Moments later they charged for a ball on the far touchline which ended with Hart tumbling head first into the advertising boards. But while the home fans yelled for a sending off, the match official kept his cards in his pocket.

The ground emptied towards the end and proof of how deep Hibs had wounded the locals was evident upon the final whistle as a resounding 
chorus of boos echoed around the stands of Pittodrie. For a visiting player, that is the surest sign of a job well done.