A MISERABLE away record proved to be Hibs’ downfall the season before, just four wins on the road was undoubtedly a major factor in the Easter Road outfit’s ultimate failure in their bid to secure a place in the Europa League.
It was, however, not a new phenomenon but a conundrum which had tested both John Collins and Tony Mowbray in preceding seasons, four away wins the year before and five going back a further 12 months.
So to have already got two away wins on the board, allied to a welcome point from Inverness, represented something of an achievement for Mixu Paatelainen’s players.
Paatelainen made the brave decision to play three strikers given that Hibs hadn’t won in the Granite City since 2005, but one which, he insisted, wasn’t made on the basis of the Dons’ poor form, having lost their last four matches.
The first goal arrived in controversial circumstances. Dean Shiels, on for the injured Steven Thicot, played in Colin Nish, who saw his shot beaten away by Aberdeen goalkeeper Jamie Langfield, the ball falling for Derek Riordan who fired it goalwards where Steven Fletcher, who was offside, flicked his boot at it. Dons defender Charlie Mulgrew instinctively reached out a hand to prevent it going into the net.The upshot was a red card, a penalty and the chance for Riordan to claim his second goal of the game.
Aberdeen rightly felt hard done by, but Hibs, too, were aggrieved when Sol Bamba was adjudged by referee Mike McCurry to have illegally impeded Lee Miller, the resulting penalty falling into the very soft category but giving the ex-Hearts striker the chance to cancel out Riordan’s earlier opener from the spot.
Coming as it did with the half-time whistle rapidly approaching, Miller’s goal lifted the under-fire Dons but while they enjoyed plenty of possession after the interval they rarely carved out even a half-chance.