Hibs 1, Aberdeen 0: Ryan Porteous goal secures victory in Shaun Maloney's first match in charge

A 64th-minute goal from Ryan Porteous was enough to secure Hibs victory against Aberdeen in Shaun Maloney’s first match in charge.

By Patrick McPartlin
Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 9:51 pm
Ryan Porteous celebrates his goal with Alex Gogic and Kevin Nisbet
Ryan Porteous celebrates his goal with Alex Gogic and Kevin Nisbet

It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t as convincing as it might have been, but three points is three points and a second consecutive clean sheet in the league is not to be sniffed at.

Hibs would have been looking for a positive result not only to kick off the new regime in the right fashion but to bounce back from Sunday’s Premier Sports Cup final defeat by Celtic.

The hosts started the game at 100mph, something there hasn’t been a lot of recently. But for all the hurly-burly there wasn’t a great deal to show for it. Twenty seconds in Boyle was inches from getting on the end of a trademark Scott Allan through-ball and a Chris Cadden cross crying out for a thunderous header was turned out for a corner.

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Alex Gogic of Hibs battles for the ball with Aberdeen forward Christian Ramirez

The Dons had their own chances, Marley Watkins shooting just wide from distance before Matt Macey had to be alert to push away a Lewis Ferguson effort.

Half an hour in Hibs had their best chance of the half; one that arguably should have ended up in the back of the net. Josh Doig surged down the left before dancing into the area and cutting it back for Boyle, whose effort was blocked. The ball fell kindly for Kevin Nisbet but he contrived to head over the bar from around eight yards out.

On 34 minutes Maloney was forced into making his first chane of the night, Jake Doyle-Hayes unable to continue and making way for Alex Gogic. The Irishman had started the evening strongly in a slightly different midfield pairing with Josh Campbell, his usual partner Joe Newell sidelined with a dead leg.

Four minutes after coming on Gogic was booked for a foul on Christian Ramirez and that was largely the last incident of note as a half that had started with such haste meandered to the interval.

Hibs started the second half as they had the first and it wasn’t long before Boyle had an effort saved by Joe Lewis. Another Allan through-ball was inches away from finding its way through to the Australian internationalist, the playmaker enjoying his first league start since late September.

He made way for Jamie Murphy on the hour mark as Maloney made his second switch. Hibs had looked more threatening since the restart and they were rewarded for their efforts when Porteous, inexplicably left unmarked, headed in a Boyle corner on 64 minutes.

Sixty seconds later Macey did well to cut out a low cross before it reached the lurking Ramirez at the back post.

With a little under 20 minutes remaining, Nisbet got his head to a corner but couldn't direct his header to either side of Lewis.

Aberdeen struggled to offer much in attack, their last real chance of note coming when Macey clawed away a Watkins effort with 15 minutes remaining.

The Pittodrie side didn’t really look like troubling Hibs in the last 25 minutes or so and the final whistle was met by huge cheers and a lap of honour of sorts from Maloney, who saluted the three stands housing Hibs supporters as the Capital club move up to fifth in the table.