Aberdeen were dealt a blow late in their match against Hibs, after Jamie MacLaren scored a late goal for the opposition in the 86th minute at Easter Road.
The goal cancelled out Tommie Hoban’s opening goal just on the stroke of half-time, leaving the Dons third in the Scottish Premiership.
In an industrious 90 minutes, in the first half Andrew Dallas chose to ignore an Aberdeen penalty shout when Paul Hanlon appeared to trip Lewis Ferguson.
Stevie May became creator in the first half. He twice picked out Graeme Shinnie in the box, before heading across goal for Hoban to give the Dons the lead just before half-time. Hibs keeper, Bogan didn’t cover himself in glory as he failed to hold a fairly innocuous shot.
In the second-half the Dons were under constant attack from Hibs and were happy to pick off on the counter attack. Gary Mackay-Steven, Ross and Ferguson were linking up well – but as the game went on, Aberdeen saw less of the ball and it became a matter of sitting in and holding onto our slim lead.
Hibs continued to dominate, but rarely hit the target – until sub Maclaren added the finish to earn Hibs the goal they were looking for both teams to come away with a point.
Derek McInnes told the club website: “When you go so close to ending the game with a win, with three or four minutes to go, and you lose a goal you’re always disappointed.
“It’s a hard one to take when you come to such a difficult venue and get yourselves in front.
“I thought Hibs tried to force the issue. They had lots of possession, territory, but I don’t think other than one in the first half, Joe Lewis had to make a save.
“We were pretty comfortable to be honest, but I was disappointed we weren’t looking after the ball a little bit more. There were loads of gaps in behind their defence when James Wilson came on and it was taylor made to feed him in. A couple of times we had that extra pass or the wrong pass and we could have really countered on them and caused problems.
“In the cold light of day a point when we haven’t been totally at our best, I think it was a good effort from the players. We got a goal that got us in front, but for me the biggest talking point of the whole game was the penalty kick we weren’t awarded. Paul Hanlon’s already been booked and makes a genuine attempt for the ball and the referee is in such a brilliant position, but I don’t know how on earth he doesn’t give that penalty. There’s no way Hanlon gets the ball as he just takes Lewis down.
“That is a pivotal moment because it should be a yellow card and a penalty.
“Two yellows make the red and that would have been a huge shot in the arm for us at that stage. I’m scratching my head to see how he hasn’t given a penalty there. It was the wrong decision, but you have to credit Hibs and credit to Neil. He made all the changes he could to get something from the game and we had to react to that. I’m disappointed we’ve lost the goal so late. Once it got in that area behind Gary it’s difficult to defend that cross. It’s hard to say Hibs didn’t deserve their point but when you go so late in the game and you’re fairly comfortable, it’s frustrating not to get the job done.
“With Hibs pushing up so high our choice of pass was down the sides when James was on the shoulder and once he’s away there’s no catching him. He just trained fully yesterday and he’s not had a lot of competitive football. He played four bit parts in game for Manchester United U23s and having watched the U23 league, they are nowhere near the level of competitive games. He’s a good bit behind, but it was good for him to get on the pitch and he’s had a look at us and Scottish football as well the opposition, so he’s taken that all in. We’ll try get him some minutes against Kilmarnock next week and some good work through the international break and hopefully he’ll be closer to having that impact we believe he can give us. I thought Stevie May did really well today and led the line really well. I’m excited to get James in the team as well.
“I was disappointed we missed Scott Wright today through his injury because he put in as good a performance as he ever has for us last week and he was brilliant. We’ve got McGinn back and I was keen to get him on the pitch when Frank Ross came off but he had felt a wee recurrence of his calf so we didn’t risk him. Hopefully he’s back next week along with Wright and McKenna being closer.
“The squad looks quite strong but we could maybe be doing with one more in a certain area for balance.”