Hibs Under-18s miss two penalties in dramatic 1-0 defeat by Aberdeen Under-18s

Hibs Under-18s missed out on the chance to go top of the league on Tuesday night when they were narrowly beaten by their Aberdeen counterparts.

Josh McCulloch (No.11) beats Findlay Marshall (No.15) and Finlay Murray (No.4)  to an aerial ball during the Under-18s clash at HTC. Picture: Maurice Dougan
Josh McCulloch (No.11) beats Findlay Marshall (No.15) and Finlay Murray (No.4) to an aerial ball during the Under-18s clash at HTC. Picture: Maurice Dougan

Adam Emslie’s 36th-minute goal turned out to be the winner as Hibs hit the post, bar and missed two penalties in an incident-filled 90 minutes at HTC.

Hibs were without the injured Josh O’Connor and Malik Zaid, with Rudi Molotnikov continuing in midfield in a 3-5-2 set-up.

The visitors had the first real chance of the game, Liam Harvey’s cut-back just evading Cammy Wilson. Molotnikov then fired over from just outside the area before Harvey did likewise at the other end.

Twenty minutes in Oscar MacIntyre picked out Ethan Laidlaw at the back post but he side-footed wide and Molotnikov struck another effort off the crossbar.

Murray Johnson then denied Wilson but nine minutes before the break the Dons scored against the run of play. Finlay Murray’s diagonal picked out Timi Fatona; he outmuscled MacIntyre and played in Emslie, who fired across Johnson and into the far corner for a well-taken opener.

Connor Young fired narrowly wide as Hibs chased an equaliser before the interval.

Only four second-half minutes had been played when referee David Dickson adjudged an Aberdeen defender to have handled a free kick and awarded a penalty. Young stepped up but blazed over from 12 yards.

Connor Young, left, and Oscar MacIntyre put pressure on the Aberdeen defence. Picture: Maurice Dougan

Hibs were throwing everything at the visitors with Robbie Hamilton replacing Jacob MacIntyre as Gareth Evans switched formation. The substitute fired narrowly over and a Jacob Blaney free kick released Murray Aiken whose low cross was palmed out by Jamie Shingler and cleared. Laidlaw and MacIntyre were then inches away from connecting with Young’s cross before Harvey had a shot blocked.

A cute reverse pass from Young sent Aiken through on goal and he won a corner. From the set-piece, the ball was returned to Young who curled wide from the edge of the area.

Kanayo Megwa then tried to pick out Hamilton but the cross just evaded the midfielder. Johnson kept Hibs in the game with a superb double save from Emslie and Wilson but there was plenty to come with just four minutes remaining.

Dickson, who had infuriated both teams throughout with a series of bizarre decisions and repeatedly drawn Evans’ ire for his lenience with the Dons as they slowed the game down, pointed to the spot after a challenge on Harvey. With Hibs protesting, the decision was overturned by linesman Rory Millar and Dons assistant coach Scott Anderson was sent off in the aftermath.

Mack Weir then thumped an effort off the post with Shingler beaten and Laidlaw headed just over as time ticked down. But there was still time for late drama.

A Hibs attack sparked by substitute Freddie Wylie was snuffed out on the edge of the area – the midfielder looked offside when he received the ball but the flag stayed down. He was brought down and a free kick awarded before Dickson pointed to the spot after speaking to assistant referee Stephen Divers.

Blaney stepped up this time but Shingler guessed correctly and beat his effort away with virtually the last kick of the ball.

The result keeps Hibs in second in the CAS Elite Under-18 League table with a trip to Kilmarnock on Friday night next.

Hibs: Johnson, J MacIntyre (Hamilton 62), Blaney, Weir, Megwa, O MacIntyre, McCulloch, Aiken, Molotnikov (Wylie 75), Young, Laidlaw. Subs not used: Carter, Hastie, Khan.

Aberdeen: Shingler, Fatona, Watson, Murray McKenzie, Marshall, Mason, Wilson, Stewart, Harvie, Emslie. Subs not used: Vitols, Ochmanski, Pirie, Mackie.