Josh Campbell steps up for Hibs again as Aberdeen rue penalty and red card decision
Josh Campbell is described as a 'tough-tackling box-to-box midfielder' on the Hibs official website. They will now need to add 'goal machine' to his profile page after the 22-year-old took his tally for the season to five in the 3-1 win over Aberdeen.
The academy graduate made his breakthrough last season after loan spells at Airdrie, Arbroath and Edinburgh City and impressed enough to merit 35 appearances campaign with a mixture of starts and substitute appearances.
Now he is one of the first names on manager Lee Johnson's teamsheet having developed a habit of making vital contributions in the goal-scoring department, as shown by a last-minute winner against St Johnstone, an injury-time equaliser against Rangers, and now his match-winning double against the Dons.
Both of his strikes in this match came after Martin Boyle had equalised from the penalty spot in a controversial, game-changing moment on the stroke of half-time that also saw Aberdeen reduced to 10 men.
Beforehand, it had been shaping up to be a frustrating afternoon for the home side after Luis Lopes put the Dons in front inside four minutes with a pinpoint glancing header that left David Marshall with no chance.
Indeed, groans were heard around Easter Road more than once during the early exchanges as Hibs struggled to find their feet.
But, recovering from the initial setback, Hibs showed character by seizing control of the game, with Boyle and Elie Youan posing problems on either flank, and debutant Mykola Kukharevych leading the line well, as Jim Goodwin's men struggled to build on their advantage.
The Dons survived a penalty shout when a cross brushed against the arm of Ross McCrorie, but referee David Dickinson did point to the spot in the 44th minute when Liam Scales and Ryan Porteous both hit the deck.
On first viewing it appeared the foul could well have gone against the Hibs centre-back – and that was certainly the view of the infuriated Dons players and management – but the award went in Porteous’ favour, and Scales, booked only moments earlier for a crunching challenge on Campbell, was given a second yellow.
Boyle tucked away the spot-kick and for the second match running Hibs would have the benefit of playing a considerable period of the match with an extra man.
That is no guarantee of success but thanks to Campbell's intuitive forward runs and composed finishing, Hibs got the points that took them up to fourth place and above Aberdeen in the table.
Not before the youngster made a mess of an opening though, failing to square to Kukharevych when the Ukrainian would have had a tap in, before going on to make amends on 62 minutes.
Chris Cadden, impressive all afternoon, brilliantly set up the chance with a driving run and perfectly timed pass that found Campbell in space in the box. With a cool head, he turned and slotted low past Kelle Roos.
Campbell then turned penalty box poacher, nipping in ahead of Roos and stabbing home from close range after Ross McCrorie could only head a Cadden cross back towards his own goal.
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