Seven points in a week have transformed Aberdeen’s season, lifting the Pittodrie outfit off the bottom of the SPL table and leaving Craig Brown’s players with their eyes on forcing their way into the top six.
Perhaps more importantly for the Dons is the fact that their mini-run of three games unbeaten, culminating in a controversial penalty winner against Hibs, has put clear water between them and the Easter Road club who are now stranded on just 14 points alongside Dunfermline with only goal difference sparing the Capital club from the ignominy of occupying the basement spot.
It does, as Hibs midfield star Martin Scott admitted today, make dismal reading for new boss Pat Fenlon, his players, their supporters and everyone connected with Easter Road.
But equally, Scott insisted the Dons’ apparent revival not only gives hope to him and his team-mates but again underscores the role luck – or in Hibs’ case at present, the lack of – plays.
After securing a point against St Mirren, despite surrendering a two goal lead, Aberdeen got the breaks they badly needed as St Johnstone goalkeeper Peter Enckelman spilled a Ryan Jack shot for Scott Vernon to open the scoring at a windswept McDiarmid Park before the big Finn made a hash of a clearance, leaving Jack to net from the halfway line.
And, Scott believes, they got another touch of luck as referee Craig Thomson pointed to the spot to award Aberdeen a penalty as the home side’s Peter Pawlett went down under the challenge of the backtracking Ivan Sproule.
As television pictures proved – and Sproule protested at the time – the ref had got it badly wrong, as he also did a few minutes later in sending off Pawlett for a sliding challenge on Lewis Stevenson, one which the Hibs midfielder himself reckoned hardly even merited a yellow card far less red.
In Scott’s book, however, two wrongs don’t make a right, even if Hibs were left with 35 minutes to claim an equaliser against ten men.
Agreeing the match had the hallmarks of one in which a single goal would prove decisive, the former Livingston and Ross County player said: “I think we’d rather have been playing against 11 with the game goal-less than against ten and being one down.
“Personally, I didn’t think it was a penalty. Ivan got back and did enough to get a toe in. The other side of the coin is we can understand why Aberdeen were aggrieved at the red card, Lewis said it was never a sending off and I don’t think the boy has caught him at all.
“At half-time we thought we were the better team and had a bit more in us to push on and perhaps get a goal but then they get the penalty and it was difficult from then on.
“Sometimes everything seems to go for you, other times against you. At the moment it’s as if everything is going against us.”
Having said that, though, Scott pointed to the fact that Vernon’s spot-kick was Aberdeen’s only shot on target during the entire 90 minutes while Dons goalkeeper Jason Brown was forced to bring off smart saves from himself, Akpo Sodje and Danny Galbraith.
He said: “We were saying after the match that Graham Stack hadn’t had a save to make, just as he didn’t have much to do against Rangers the previous week when, again, it was a penalty against us which changed the game.
“Their goalkeeper [Jason Brown] definitely had the most to do. He made a good save off me in the first half, we’d worked in training on getting me free in the box but I probably met Danny’s free-kick too well.
“Then he’s saved well from Akpo and right at the death he’s stopped one from Danny. Stacky must be shaking his head wondering why he’s had so little to do and yet we’ve been beaten in both games. We feel we should have drawn both if not sneaked a win against Aberdeen.
“But that’s football, sometimes you only get one chance in a game and if it goes in you win and that’s what happened. Something out of the game would have been great for us so it was quite sickening for all the boys to be beaten as we were.”
The defeat has left Fenlon seeking his first points as Hibs manager, their winless run now stretching back six games, a period which has seen the Capital side pick up a mere two points.
And as tough as the weekend result might have been, Scott insisted it had to be brushed off and the focus trained on Saturday’s clash with Dundee United at Tannadice. He said: “There’s no point crying about hard luck stories. We have to show the hunger and desire to get the three points from our next match.
“It seems to be the same story every week. Our preparation for matches is done properly, we’re the best prepared we can be but at the end of the day the boys have to start delivering.
“You can talk about all the ifs and buts but we have to start producing wins, whether it’s from pretty football or a scrap we need a win.”
Scott believes the recent experiences of Aberdeen shows how quickly a team’s fortunes can change. He said: “Credit to Aberdeen, they were probably feeling a bit of pressure but they have got the points on the board over the past week or so.
“It shows what can happen in football, one result can change everything. Aberdeen have enjoyed a bit of luck and we feel we are probably overdue a break ourselves.
“But there is still a long, long way to go, plenty of points to be played for and we are confident that if we keep preparing properly for matches and apply ourselves in them then it is going to turn for us just as it seems to have for Aberdeen.”