Talking point: Why Hibs fans should be optimistic despite Betfred Cup exit

The Hibs players were clapped off by their fans after an impressive display.
The Hibs players were clapped off by their fans after an impressive display.
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Four years ago, Hibs lost a League Cup quarter-final at home to a team from the north east of Scotland after a stirring performance which deserved better.

• READ MORE: Hibs 0, Aberdeen 0: Lennon’s men crash out 6-5 on penalties

Dundee United, then riding high at the top of the Scottish Premiership, were the victors that night after a thrilling 3-3 draw against a Scott Allan-inspired Hibs side in the process of rebuilding following relegation to the Championship. There were echoes of that night in 2014 at Easter Road on this occasion as Hibs, rebuilding and trying to regenerate momentum following a summer of transition, produced a superb performance which should have resulted in victory against a resilient Aberdeen side.

• READ MORE: Neil Lennon hails ‘brilliant’ Hibs as he rues missed chances

While back-to-back wins over Kilmarnock and Dundee had gone some way to restoring optimism at Easter Road, this performance - despite ultimately ending in an exit from the Betfred Cup - would have been particularly pleasing for supporters because it came against a side who have been the second-best in the country for the past four years. Their defence now looks solid after a leaky summer and the midfield has found a good level of balance and cohesion after struggling to fire in the early post-McGinn/McGeouch matches.

All that was missing against Aberdeen was a goal, but they fact they scored six in their previous two games means Neil Lennon and the Hibs supporters shouldn’t be overly concerned about the potency of their attack. Things are starting to come together for Hibs.

• READ MORE: Three things we learned about Hibs’ cup exit to Aberdeen