Hibs and Aberdeen hoping that impressions don’t last at end of disappointing season

Although little left to fight for this season, both sets of players have a lot to consider ahead of next term.

Aberdeen boss Jim Goodwin said he made a point of only selecting those who remain part of his plans, with those who have already been told they are surplus to requirements left on the bench.

But, at least the Aberdeen squad know who they have to impress in the final few outings of a disappointing and turbulent campaign.

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Troubled by many of the same issues this season, Hibs have no idea who will be making the key footballing decisions come the summer, although the search for Shaun Maloney’s managerial replacement is heading towards a conclusion, with a shortlist expected this week.

Hibs' Joe Newell is tackled by Aberdeen's David Bates during their Premiership draw at Easter Road. Photo by Ewan Bootman / SNS Group

In the meantime the players are doing all they can to make a positive impression on anyone looking in.

Against Aberdeen, that almost amounted to a victory but two quality saves from Joe Lewis foiled Elias Melkersen and then Joe Newell. There were a few brave blocks from the likes of Declan Gallagher as well. But, having gone behind, in the 56th minute, the home side created more opportunities than has been the case in recent times and, with seven minutes remaining, finally converted one.

Home advantage had counted for a lot whenever these teams met this term, with the Dons winning both of the head to heads at Pittodrie and Hibs looking to even the tally having already won one at Easter Road.

Hibs owner Ron Gordon had flown in for Monday’s board meeting and to oversee the latter stages of the recruitment process as the club try to identify who will become their third manager in a year and the man who they expect to haul them out of the doldrums and back into the higher echelons next season.

And, the Leith side had the better of the match.

Ryan Porteous returned to the side for his first league appearance since he was sent off against the Pittodrie side in March and he quickly made an impact, knocking Gallagher off his feet with a thundering, close-range free-kick after Lewis had been judged to collect a passback.

It was the first of several blocks by the men in red.

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At the other end, Hanlon was the one putting his body on the line to deny Lewis Ferguson. But then Melkersen was left with his head in his hands as his low angled drive was sent past the upright by a diving Lewis, who produced a fingertip save.

There was a hint of what was to come for Newell when he was twice lined up to shoot but took a fraction too long and was closed down. But the cruelest intervention came in the second half.

Attempting to claw back the deficit after David Bates made the most of Gallagher’s 56th minute knockdown and slammed the ball home, Newell was just six yards out when Funso Ojo headed the ball into his path but Lewis made himself big and as the Hibs midfielder pulled the trigger, he managed to get a hand to it.

But, in a disjointed game, Hibs did grab the equaliser and it was very similar to Aberdeen’s goal. This time James Scott nodded down Sylvester Jasper’s cross and McGinn buried it.

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