Hibs' Ryan Porteous dismissed in wake of Steve Conroy 'infantile' comments as Aberdeen breathe life into top-six charge
Moreover, these vital three points for the Pittodrie side – their first win in 11 games – mean that they remain in the race.
But there was an element of the Edinburgh outfit shooting themselves in the foot as they went down to 10 men for the final half and hour – their tenth sending off of the season – allowing their hosts to slot home their second penalty and then make the most a dishevelled defence to put them game out of sight with ten minutes remaining.
Former referee Steve Conroy had annoyed many in the Hibs camp with his evisceration of defender Ryan Porteous on a podcast. Focusing on the centre-beck's reaction to Bevis Mugabi’s dismissal in last weekend’s Scottish Cup tie, the ex whistler branded him “pathetic”, “idiotic”, “infantile” and suggested Hibs have a word with a player Maloney has described as the best defender in the country in recent weeks.
On the back of that, the last thing Porteous needed was another early bath. It was also the last thing his team needed.
They had taken the lead in the 21st minute when a Chris Cadden cross was swung in deep from the right and, aware of the danger behind him, Calvin Ramsey stuck out a leg looking to hook it away but instead directed it beyond Joe Lewis.
In a fiery and fractious match, which was bursting with energy but was punctuated by fouls, that gave the away side a fortuitous lead.
Aberdeen had been on the front foot as both teams demonstrated a desire to win the match but Aberdeem seemed more clued up as to how to achieve that.
This was disappointing for Hibs, who were unable to reprise last weekend’s performance in front of goal, with the cup goal hero Elias Melkerson denied the same service and unable to shrug off Aberdeen’s defensive shackles.
And, Jim Goodwin’s men managed to get back on level terms before the interval, albeit with a controversial penalty. There was no disputing that Rocky Bushiri handled the ball in the 35th minute but the fact it was deflected off at least one other player and his leg before it struck his arm led to furious argument.
Lewis Ferguson shrugged off the disappointment of his last penalty miss to step up and send the spot kick past Kevin Dabrowski to level the score.
Looking at the final two games before the split, Hibs will have hoped to place some daylight between themselves and the chasing pack, but Aberdeen were the ones who converted their need for points into a victory.
Ferguson’s 62nd-minute free-kick was headed off the underside of the bar by David Bates and in the ensuing scramble the referee blew for a Porteous foul on Ross McGrorie, backing his decision up with the red card and another penalty which Ferguson buried.
Besuijen put the game out of sight to give his side hope and Hibs growing cause for concern as they tackle the next two fixtures against the teams directly above them, Dundee United and city rivals Hearts.