Hibernian 3 - 0 Aberdeen: Martin Boyle hits a double as Hibs rout Dons

Martin Boyle celebrates his first goal for Hibs.
Martin Boyle celebrates his first goal for Hibs.
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A team that had fought back from a two-goal deficit against Rangers days earlier, up against a side who have developed a reputation for throwing away leads, there was scope for a tough afternoon for Hibernian.

But, delivering their most convincing performance of the season, the Easter Road side made sure there would be no late capitulation in this one.

Registering their biggest win over the Dons since 2007 – and their biggest in the league for 51 years – they slotted three goals past their guests and successfully kept a clean sheet in the league for the first time since the opening day of the season.

The switch in goalkeeper, with Ofir Marciano back in the starting line-up in place of Chris Maxwell, played a part in that defensive resolve, with the Israeli keeper pulling off a pivotal double save in the 36th minute.

Summing up the ebb and flow of the first half, which was open as play roared from end to end, the visitors surged forward on the breakaway. James Wilson led the charge but with no-one up in support, he was forced to lash an angled drive goalwards. Marciano blocked that then had to react swiftly to get out to close down the in-rushing Sam Cosgrove, who had burst a gut to get back up the field. It was a crucial intervention and gave the men in front of him a platform to build on.

At the other end Scott McKenna had done well to get in ahead of Christian Doidge to prevent a sure goal as both teams showed their attacking intent.

But Hibs were the side to land the decisive first blow to leave Aberdeen rocking – and they were hit by a further two goals to ensure Hibs enjoyed a more comfortable end to a match than they have experienced in quite some time.

The opener came in the 52nd minute and was courtesy of a delightful Scott Allan through ball for Martin Boyle to run onto. The pace of the Australian forward had given the home side a useful outlet, as it was matched with a positive mindset and willingness to take the ball deep in his own half and instantly turn defence into attack. His close control and anticipation also rendered him a real pest.

The only hold-up was in his team-mates picking out the right ball or link-up play to maximise his input.
Allan is one with that vision, though, and having played in Boyle, the player who is still getting back to his best after his lengthy injury lay-off, nipped in ahead of Joe Lewis and, with the keeper helpless to halt him, he rounded him and pinned the ball into the empty net.

Jason Naismith then had a crack, coming in from the right. But although his strike will have stung the hands of Lewis, it couldn’t get past him at the near post.
Aberdeen took the bold move to go to three at the back and, making a triple substitution, tried to get themselves back on level terms. But Hibs were not to be pegged back this time and they added to their goal tally in the 68th minute. This time it was Florian Kamberi who was the provider but Boyle was again the benefactor.

The Swiss striker took possession on the left flank and waited for Boyle to make the run before playing the ball inside.

Gathering speed he charged through the middle and while Andrew Considine got goalside and tried to usher him away, the Hibs man held him off long enough to dispatch a low effort across Lewis and into the net. Substitute Ryan Hedges then went down in the Hibs box under a Stevie Mallan challenge and appealed for a penalty but was instead booked for a dive.

In the 74th minute, Hibs got their third and although Boyle didn’t get a hat-trick, he did have a part to play in the build-up. He was running riot and, breaking upfield, he opened up the chance, slipping the ball out wide to Kamberi who skipped inside past both Ash Taylor and then McKenna before slotting a low shot into the bottom corner.

Boyle went off to a standing ovation a couple of minutes later and by then the job was virtually complete. All that remained was the determination to see out the remainder of the match with a clean sheet.