HIBS six match unbeaten run in the SPL came to an end as Pat Fenlon’s side were sunk by goals from Aberdeen’s Nial McGinn and Gavin Rae.
McGinn 4, Rae 71
McGinn gave the Dons an early lead but that was cancelled out by a fantastic strike from Easter Road hitman Eoin Doyle. But Aberdeen turned their second half pressure into a winning goal, Rae knocking the ball home from a couple of yards out.
The lunch-time start had given Hibs the chance to go top of the table, even for a few hours, but they rarely looked like taking that opportunity as they tasted defeat in the League for the first time since the opening day of the season.
As expected top scorer Leigh Griffiths returned for Hibs after recovering from the ankle injury which prevented him playing against Inverness Caley, his appearance meaning a return to the bench for 18-year-old Ross Caldwell.
Hibs got off to the worst possible start, conceding the game’s opening goal after only four minutes. Paul Hanlon found himself out-muscled by Scott Vernon as the pair tussled for Andy Considine’s high, hanging ball forward, the Dons striker turning his marker to fire in a low shot which goalkeeper Ben Williams, diving to his right, could only push aside.
Williams desperately tried to retrieve the situation but McGinn was on hand to drill the ball home.
The Edinburgh club should have equalised six minutes later when Paul Cairney picked out Griffiths all alone inside the Aberdeen penalty area. Griffiths shot, however, was at just the right height for Dons goalkeeper Jamie Lanfield to pull off a smart save.
Hibs were looking rather less than assured defensively on occasion, Aberdeen taking every opportunity to get winger Ryan Fraser on the ball and to good effect, one cynical block from Jorge Claros stopping the youngster in his tracks as he raced goalwards.
Aberdeen had loud claims for a penalty turned aside, referee Calum Murray deciding a corner would suffice as the home team insisted Vernon’s shot had struck the arm of Hibs skipper James McPake before Stephen Hughes passedd up a great chance to double his side’s lead.
The midfielder robbed Alan Maybury, fed Vernon and took a return pass only eight yards out but looked on in horror as Williams threw up a hand to deflect his effort off target.
Hibs had enjoyed a reasonable amount of possession without carving out too many clear-cut chances but they equalised with a goal out of nothing in the 33rd minute. A blustery wind had done neither set of players any favours and when the ball skimmed the head of Hughes and fell for Doyle there appeared to be little, if any danger. But the Irish striker turned and delivered a fantastic first time shot from a tightish angle which left Langfield flatfooted.
Aberdeen’s early second half substitute Josh Magennis had only been on the park a couple of minutes when he should have put Craig Brown’s side ahead again. McGinn wriggled his way along the bye-line to deliver an inviting cross which his team-mate nodded over from close-range.
A quick throw-in from Tim Clancy presented David Wotherspoon with an opening at the other end but like Magennis he was unable to get his effort on target as was Cairney after Doyle had opened up the home defence.
Hanlon brought Magennis down just outside the penalty area and the substitute was only inches out with the resultant free-kick as Hibs began to live dangerously, finding themselves pinned back inside their own area as the Dons went for a second goal.
And they got it in the 69th minute, Magennis bringing down Hughes’ high ball before delivering an inviting low cross for Rae to turn into the net from a couple of yards out.
Hibs had one late chance to equalise, veteran Finnish striker Shefki Kuqi beating Langfield to the ball and slipping it past the goalkeeper. But his shot carried insufficient power and Mark Reynolds got back to clear,
Aberdeen: Langfield, Osbourne, Anderson, Reynolds, Considine, Rae, Hughes, Jack, McGinn, Vernon (Milsom 90), Fraser (Magennis 54). Substitutes not used: J Brown, Robertson, Clark, C Smith.
Hibs: Williams, Clancy, McPake, Hanlon, Maybury (McGivern 46), Wotherspoon (Handling 67), Claros, Deegan, Cairney (Kuqi 75), Doyle, Griffiths. Substitutes not used: Antell, Stevenson, Stanton, Caldwell.
Referee: Calum Murray.