The memory of “being absolutely battered” by Aberdeen on their last visit to Pittodrie will drive Hibs on in Saturday’s showdown with the Dons, according to Easter Road winger Brandon Barker.
Derek McInnes’ side lie in pole position in the race for second place in the Premiership, but are only three points ahead of both Hibs and Rangers with three matches remaining.
Defeat would put a serious dent in the Easter Road outfit’s hopes of capping a remarkable return to the top flight by clinching that runners-up spot, but Neil Lennon’s players will travel high on confidence having lost just once – away to champions Celtic – in the league since that 4-1 hammering in mid-December by the Dons.
While there were mitigating circumstances at the time – it was Hibs’ third match in six days in which they’d already played Celtic and Rangers – on-loan Manchester City winger Barker admitted the result and poor performance had left a bad taste in the mouth.
However, buoyed by victories over Celtic and Kilmarnock in their first two post-split games, Barker is adamant there will be no repeat.
The 21-year-old, who capped off his return from a three-month absence after tearing his hamstring by scoring the final goal in the 5-3 win over Killie, said: “The last game up there was probably my worst game, just for the result and performance. It left a bad taste, but I think it was a good wake-up call.
“We’ve only been beaten by Celtic since and, while I don’t want to say we owe them one, we at least owe a performance. We want to go head-to-head with them.
“We were absolutely battered and we will do everything in our power to make sure it won’t happen again. I’m sure the memory will drive the boys on.”
Having suffered that humiliation, Hibs exacted a measure of revenge with a superb second-half display which saw them beat Aberdeen 2-0 in Edinburgh.
Barker said: “We were the better team that day and the score was a fair reflection, but their 4-1 win was also a fair reflection of that game. But they’ll know we won’t let that happen again, our boys know it won’t happen.
“It’s probably our biggest game of the season, but we’ll be going there with confidence and belief we can get the three points.”