HIBEE HISTORY: Sodje strikes at Pittodrie

Akpo Sodje scored after 15 minutes
Akpo Sodje scored after 15 minutes
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Hibs striker Akpo Sodje’s first-half effort got his team back on the winning trail after their run of seven games undefeated came unstuck away to Celtic.

After a poor start to the season under former boss John Hughes, which saw the Hibees win just one of their opening eight SPL matches, Colin Calderwood had developed a winning formula, although their best hopes were of a seventh-place finish. That never transpired however, as Hibs went on to lose five of their six remaining matches and finished tenth.

Striker Derek Riordan was a surprise absentee for Hibs, while Michael Hart, David Wotherspoon and Martin Scott made the bench after the Celtic loss, with Richie Towell, Lewis Stevenson, Matt Thornhill and Sodje the fresh starters.

Midweek injuries ruled Rory McArdle and Zander Diamond out of the Dons defence, with Michael Paton and Josh Magennis also dropping out and Nikola Vujadinovic, Ryan Jack, Sone Aluko and Nick Blackman coming in.

Ricardo Vaz Te looked to pounce on early nervousness in that reorganised home rearguard, but he was ruled offside after his powerful effort was saved by goalkeeper Jamie Langfield.

Heeding their manager’s pre-match call for a strong start, Hibs swept into the lead after 15 minutes. Aberdeen defender Steven Smith was caught daydreaming on the ball on the edge of his own penalty area with Matt Thornhill nicking in to set up a Hibs attack from which Sodje scored.

However, Hibs failed to press home their advantage, and, as a result, Aberdeen were never out of the game. The enigmatic talents of Chris Maguire were always going to provide a key to unlock the Hibs defence at some point. He sent a 20-yard drive against the outside of a Hibs post after a solo run, but the Dons had largely lost their cohesion after going behind.

The home side did work their way back into the game against the visitors from Edinburgh who were largely anonymous as an attacking force and a Blackman header squirmed across the six-yard box.

Sodje had a good chance to grab his second goal moments after the break, but the striker lashed his left-foot effort over the crossbar from just inside the penalty area.

Hibs had their goalkeeper to thank for denying Maguire an equaliser when the goalkeeper turned the striker’s effort from point-blank range on to a post.

The visitors raced up the other end and Lewis Stevenson hesitated when he found space inside the box and fired against the outrushing Langfield.

It was Aberdeen’s turn not to make the most of their chances when a fine Maguire cross found Richie Vernon at the back post, but the substitute volleyed over.

Stevie Smith then fired just over from 20 yards out before he sent in a cross that was headed against the underside of the bar from Magennis as the Dons narrowly missed out on a point.

Hibs: Brown, Hanlon, Stephens, Booth, Towell, Stevenson, Thornhill, Miller, Palsson, Sodje, Vaz Te.