Hibs are looking to reach their third Betfred Cup semi-final in four years when they welcome Derek McInnes’ Aberdeen to Easter Road on Tuesday night in front of the BT Sport cameras.
In the build-up to the clash, Neil Lennon has been hit with the news that Australian striker Jamie Maclaren several weeks with a back injury. The on loan star missed the side’s 3-0 win over Dundee on Saturday after picking up the knock in training. He underwent a scan which confirmed he is set for a spell on the sidelines.
He may joined momentarily by David Gray (dead leg) and Martin Boyle (foot) who have niggles of their own following the weekend’s win in the City of Discovery, which lifted the Capital side into second position for 24 hours. Lennon will hope that the duo shrug off their respective injuries to take their place in the starting XI.
Both players were substituted during the win with Gray replaced by Steven Whittaker at half-time and Thomas Agyepong coming on for Boyle in the second half.
Following an injury ravaged 2017-2018 campaign, Gray has returned to become a consistent performer in the Hibs backline, even chipping in with four goals. Having only made 12 appearances last season he has already reached double figures so far.
In Agyepong, Hibs have a ready-made replacement for Boyle if the winger doesn’t make it. Yet, his absence would be a blow with Lennon describing him as “an outstanding player” following his role in Hibs’ latest win in which he netted the second goal.
The only other injury news is that of goalkeeper Ofir Marciano who is still recovering from a finger injury.
Lewis Stevenson will once again take his place on the left side of defence with new signing Miquel Nelom not deemed ready to feature.
Aberdeen come into the fixture on the back of a 1-0 win over Motherwell but currently sitting in seventh place. They’ve scored just five goals in their six league games so far, only the bottom two, Dundee and St Mirren, have hit the net less.
Their key wide men, Niall McGinn and Gary Mackay-Steven are both available, while they are pinning a lot of their goalscoring hopes on Manchester United loanee James Wilson who opened his account with the winning strike against the Steelmen.
Of the last six meetings between the sides the Dons have had the upper hand, winning three times but Hibs are unbeaten in the last three. The most recent fixture was a 1-1 draw at Easter Road, a game in which Hibs were largely the better side.
The Dons have had their injury issues this season and will be without Lewis Ferguson, Scott Wright, Tommie Hoban, who scored against Hibs, Mark Reynolds and Greg Tansey.
Injuries / suspensions / unavailable
Hibs - Jamie Maclaren and Ofir Marciano are out with back and finger injuries respectively, while recent recruit Miquel Nelom won’t be included. David Gray and Martin Boyle are doubts having picked up injuries during Hibs’ 3-0 win over Dundee on Saturday.
Aberdeen - Young midfielders Lewis Ferguson and Scott Wright remain on the sidelines after missing the win over Motherwell. They join long-term absentees Tommie Hoban, Mark Reynolds and Greg Tansey.
88 - Three minutes after replacing Jason Cummings during Hibs’ League Cup encounter with Aberdeen three years ago, Dominique Malonga picked up a John McGinn pass in his own half. From there he sauntered into the Aberdeen box, away from Niall McGinn and Kenny McLean before sidestepping Shay Logan and placing the ball past Joe Lewis. It secured a 2-0 win for the Hibees with Cummings having opened the scoring with his own special goal.
It is said that Lewis Stevenson faces his biggest test to hold onto the Hibs left-back spot after the arrival of Dutch international Nelom. He will do his case little harm in shutting down Aberdeen’s Gary Mackay-Steven. The winger has arguably been the Dons’ best player this season, playing with confidence. Tricky and fast, Stevenson will have his hands full but has shown he is more than capable of handling players like Mackay-Steven.
Hibs and Aberdeen have been regular participants in the latter stages of the cup competitions in the last seven seasons. Between them, they have reached the semi-final of either the Betfred Cup or Scottish Cup 14 times. However, they have only turned two of those appearances into wins with Hibs’ Scottish Cup success in 2016 and Aberdeen’s League Cup victory in 2014.
This is the sixth time since 2007 the teams have been drawn together in cup competitions. Hibs have progressed on four occasions.
Steven McLean is the man in the middle. He is the brother of former Hibs centre-back Brian McLean and will referee Hibs for the 37 time in his career. He has only taken charge of Motherwell and Aberdeen fixtures on more occasions. His most recent Hibs appointment was the club’s 2-1 loss at Livingston earlier this season.
Hibs: Bogdan; Whittaker, Ambrose, Hanlon, Stevenson; Boyle, Milligan, Mallan, Slivka, Horgan; Kamberi. Subs from: Laidlaw, McGregor, Mackie, Gray, Bartley, F Murray, Agyepong, Hyndman, Shaw, Allan, Gullan.
Aberdeen: Lewis; Logan, Devlin, McKenna, Considine; Mackay-Steven, Ball, Gleeson, Shinnie, McGinn; Cosgrove. Subs from: Cerny, Forrester, Lowe, Ross, Campbell, Anderson, May, Wilson.
Kick-off: 7.45pm (BT Sport 1 / BT Sport 4K UHD)
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