Monday, April 07, 2014

Premiership preview: Hibs v Aberdeen

A funny thing about yesterday’s Ramsdens Cup final and Raith’s dramatic last gasp win over Rangers - Raith have now won more games at Easter Road in 2014 than they’ve won at Stark’s Park.

And their two wins in Leith mean they’ve won as many games at Easter Road this year as Hibs have managed.

Such slim pickings at home help explain why you’ll not hear too many people arguing that Hibs are too good to go down.

On recent form they’re every inch bad enough to go down if they end up in the play off spot.

With Terry Butcher’s side not in action until this evening they had to just sit and watch the weekend’s results coming in, a sequence of games that served to concertina the five teams fighting to avoid the play offs.

Hibs, in seventh place, now sit just four points above Partick Thistle in eleventh. And, with just one win in 13 games since the 2nd of January, it’s little wonder that BetBritght’s odds have Aberdeen as favourites to win this evening.

With Aberdeen 26 points ahead of Hibs and more concerned with matters at the other end of the SPFL Premiership table it’s hard to see Hibs halting their spiral of decline.

And that’s a problem. Six games from the Premiership finish line and every game Hibs fail to win further hits their confidence and encourages the teams below them.

Terry Butcher has chopped, changed, cast players out and ushered them back in. A lot of fiddling but little progress.

For their part Aberdeen have drawn their last three games 1-1 - but they’re on an eight game unbeaten run, have a double cup success in their sights and saw their hopes of securing second place in the league boosted by St Mirren’s win over Motherwell, the result that did so much to haul Hibs back into the chasing bottom six pack on Saturday.

They've also had the better of the head to heads with Hibs this season - with a 1-0 win at Pittodrie and a 2-0 win at Easter Road this season.

Hibs might take succour from their last league win over Aberdeen - a 2-1 away win in 2012 when Pat Fenlon's side were desperately trying to avoid relegation. But that was a very different Aberdeen side.

It looks like being another tough night for a Hibs side that desperately need someone, anyone to put in a dominant performance in a side lacking leaders.

Aberdeen look to have the more proficient match winners. Persistent rumours that looking after the pennies cost Hibs the signature of some of those match winners might just add to the anguish in the stands and in the dugout at Easter Road.
  • Hibs v Aberdeen, kick off 7.45pm, live on BT Sport.