Hibs 0-1 Aberdeen: Mackay-Steven strike topples battling Hibees

Aberdeen's Gary Mackay-Steven is congratulated by team-mates Kari Arnason and Adam Rooney on his opening goal at Easter Road.
Aberdeen's Gary Mackay-Steven is congratulated by team-mates Kari Arnason and Adam Rooney on his opening goal at Easter Road.
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A first half goal from Gary Mackay-Steven kept Aberdeen neck-and-neck with Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premiership table following a terrific battle with Hibs at Easter Road.

Mackay-Steven struck in the 38th minute as the Dons sliced the home defence apart but Neil Lennon's players mounted a fantastic fightback and had Aberdeen on the ropes in the final few minutes of a pulsating match but were unable to get the equaliser they'd believe they deserved..

Hibs quickly found themselves on the back foot, Mackay-Steven going close after Paul Hanlon had just managed to block Ryan Christie's low cross before Adam Rooney's touch from Stevie May's free-kick brought out a great save from Ross Laidlaw although the offside flag was up against the Dons striker in any case.

Efe Ambrose produced a perfectly timed challenge to halt Aberdeen skipper Graeme Shinnie broke into Hibs penalty area and then Laidlaw got down well to smother Mackay-Steven's low shot.

The home side weathered that early storm and Vykintas Slivka fired inches wide after good work from Steven Whittaker down Hibs right hand side.

But it was Aberdeen who got their noses in front in the 38th with a superbly worked goal which tore the Hibs defence apart, Kari Arnason firing a pass forward for May to touch on to Kenny McLean who, in turn, played it into the path of the unmarked Mackay-Steven's run, the winger not breaking his stride as he slid it wide of Laidlaw and into the bottom right hand corner of his net.

Hibs attempted to hit back, John McGinn robbing McLean in the middle of the park and driving forward to feed Anthony Stokes but his shot sailed over the bar.

Stokes was much closer two minutes into the second half, his free-kick after Shay Logan had brought down Martin Boyle forcing Dons 'keeper Joe Lewis to throw himself to his righ tto push the ball aside.

Adam Rooney caused a moment of worry for the home defence as he ambitiously hooked Mackay-Steven's cut-back over his shoulder but ultimately it fell well wide of target while Scott McKenna came up with a timely block to shut out Boyle after he'd met McGinn's glorious crossfield ball to cut inside Shinnie.

Hibs substitutte Danny Swanson wriggled his way deep into the Dons' danger area but just as it looked as if it was opening up for him he was engulfed in a sea of red shirts. Swanson again threatened, getting to the bye-line only to see his cross smothered at the front post as Aberdeen desperately hung onto their slender lead.

Hibs: Laidlaw, Whittaker, Ambrose, Hanlon, Stevenson, Slivka (Swanson 77), Bartley (Barker 66), McGeouch, McGinn, Boyle, Stokes (S Murray 85).

Substiuttes not used: Dabrowski, Gray, Shaw, Porteous.

Aberdeen: Leiws, Logan, Arnason, McKenna, Shinnie, O'Connor, Mackay-Steven (Ball 75), Christie (Reynolds 87), McLean, May (Stewart 80), Rooney.

Substitutes not used: Rogers, Maynard, Wright, Ross.

Referee: Steven McLean

Attendance: 19.052