'We need to look at that': Hibs lament naivety against Aberdeen as heartbreaking defeat cuts deep

Newell addresses Viaplay Cup semi-final defeat and says team has character to bounce back

Speaking to Joe Newell felt like an intrusion of deep grieving as he tried to digest what happened to Hibs at Hampden against Aberdeen.

The 30-year-old midfielder has been involved in highs and lows at the national stadium before but the 1-0 Viaplay Cup semi-final defeat to the Dons cut deep on Saturday. The Englishman believed Hibs were the superior team for much of the encounter but were on the end two bodyblows: a disallowed goal for Martin Boyle by the tiniest of offside margins and then the ultimate sucker-punch from Bojan Miovski with Aberdeen down to ten men.

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Newell believes Hibs must show less naivety when confronted with such situations, pointing out that it is not the first time Hibs have failed to take advantage of numerical superiority. They will need to dust themselves down quickly, with a trip to Paisley on Wednesday against St Mirren.

Joe Newell and Hibs were floored by ten-man Aberdeen's win over them at Hampden.Joe Newell and Hibs were floored by ten-man Aberdeen's win over them at Hampden.
Joe Newell and Hibs were floored by ten-man Aberdeen's win over them at Hampden.

"It hurts massively and the dressing room is devastated, as you can imagine," said Newel. "It hurts more because of the way the game went, we should have come out on top. I thought we were the better side – but things just went against us. As a player, it’s heartbreaking when that kind of VAR call goes against you. I think the longer it went on, I started to think: ‘Right, this must be close …'

“Then they get a man sent off and, I don't know, my initial feeling is that it shouldn’t – but it hindered us a bit. They were already getting back in their shape anyway, soaking up pressure, with 11 men. So with ten men it’s obviously really hard to break them down. But we need to look at that because it’s happened before, under previous managers, a few times. We’ve gone a man up and it hasn’t worked out for us.

“It’s naïve from us to concede a counterattack goal with a man up. The ref said he checked for a foul. I was asking him and he said there was no foul.

“Absolutely no disrespect to Aberdeen – they’ve gone a man down and dug out a 1-0 win, fair play to them – but I thought we were the better side throughout. There’s no qualms or complaint tactically. I thought the delivery of the gameplan went well, we were by far the better side, which is why it maybe hurts a bit more."

Martin Boyle had this goal ruled out for offside.Martin Boyle had this goal ruled out for offside.
Martin Boyle had this goal ruled out for offside.

Newell was asked if the team needs to be more street-smart in such situations. “I think so, yeah, especially in such a high stakes game, at nil-nil and with so much on the line," replied Newell. “You can call it being street smart, whatever. But it’s something we need to look at as a team."

The pain of such defeats can often linger but Newell knows there is no time for feeling sorry for themselves. “We need to bounce back, it’s done now," he said. “Of course we’ve got the character to bounce back. You’ve got no choice, anyway. That’s football.

“It’ll be horrible tonight, probably horrible tomorrow, then we’ll come in Monday and have a look at the game, a debrief – and then it’s done, over. The full focus is now on two massive coming up before the break, St Mirren and Kilmarnock. We know we need to get as many points as possible, because the full focus goes back on the league now."