Hibs secure the double with Youth Cup triumph at Hampden

The Hibs players celebrate their win over Aberdeen at Hampden. Pic: John Devlin
The Hibs players celebrate their win over Aberdeen at Hampden. Pic: John Devlin
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Hibs came from a goal down to beat Aberdeen 3-1 in the SFA Youth Cup final at Hampden as Grant Murray’s side completed a league and cup double.

Connor McLennan put the Dons ahead before the SPFL Development League champions came roaring back. A Joe MacPherson own goal restored parity before second-half strikes from captain Ryan Porteous and Jamie Gullan ensured the trophy headed back to Easter Road for the first time in nine years.

Hibs celebrate scoring against Aberdeen at Hampden. Pic: John Devlin

Hibs celebrate scoring against Aberdeen at Hampden. Pic: John Devlin

Hibs had the slightly more positive start and should have taken the lead after just five minutes. Fit-again Sean Mackie drove to the byline and pinged a great, low delivery to the back post to combine with fellow full-back Callum Donaldson, but he could only fire wide on the stretch without worrying David Craddock in the Dons’ goal.

Aberdeen responded with a half-chance of their own when McLennan ran off the back of the Hibs defence but didn’t connect properly with his shot, allowing Kevin Dabrowski to gather easily.

The opener arrived for Paul Sheerin’s side just after quarter-hour mark and it was fit to grace a cup final at any level. McLennan pulled down a searching ball into the channel before taking on and first beating Mackie in the area, then skipping past a follow-up challenge and finally the goalkeeper before squeezing the ball home.

Fraser Murray was then unfortunate not to equalise in just as much style, seeing a wonderfully-struck half-volley crash off the angle of bar and post with Craddock nowhere near it.

Ryan Porteous put Hibs 2-1 ahead. Pic: John Devlin

Ryan Porteous put Hibs 2-1 ahead. Pic: John Devlin

A cross from Donaldson then almost snuck its way in, a combination of Craddock and the woodwork keeping it out for a corner.

The young Hibees eventually enjoyed some good fortune to net the leveller. Having switched to the right flank, Murray got the ball out of his feet early and fizzed a dangerous ball in to the near post looking for Oli Shaw, but MacPherson got a touch on it first to divert past Craddock.

It was the Capital side on the front foot again after the break, and Gullan showed good feet before flashing an angled shot across goal and wide.

Mackie was next to threaten, stepping in to win the ball, striding forward and sending a strike from distance close enough to Craddock’s right-hand post that the keeper flung himself across goal to make sure it wasn’t on target.

Jamie Gullan celebrates scoring the clincher

Jamie Gullan celebrates scoring the clincher

A low Daniel Harvie free-kick gave Dabrowksi his first action of the second period, the Hibs keeper managing to get just enough on the bouncing effort to ensure any rebounds weren’t a problem.

Substitute Miko Virtanen then pulled back for Anderson, who thumped goalwards and surely would have restored his team’s lead but for an heroic block from Porteous.

Craddock then prevented Hibs going ahead at the other end after Gullan created space for himself before sending in a snapshot that took a deflection before being instinctively parried away.

It was end-to-end stuff, and Dabrowski would have breathed a sigh of relief when Frank Ross’ shot squirmed under him and just wide of his near post.

That was a let-off for Hibs, and they took full advantage by taking what was a deserved lead shortly after. Ben Stirling’s in-swinging delivery from the right was attacked by man of the match Porteous, who sent a thumping downward header past Craddock.

Hibs’ superiority, and their league and cup double, was confirmed with just over ten minutes to go.

Shaw squared up Sam Roscoe before shimmying then firing across the six-yard box for the arriving Gullan, who was left with a simple finish.

Aberdeen: Craddock, Harrington, Harvie (Wells 90), Campbell, MacPherson, Roscoe, McLennan (Virtanen 46), Ross, Anderson, F Ross, E Ross (Dangana 74).

Hibs: Dabrowksi, Donaldson, Mackie, Porteous, Waugh, Campbell, F Murray, Stirling, Shaw, I Murray (Watson 85), Gullan.

Referee: Iain Snedden

Attendance: 1641