01192018

Mackay-Steven hat-trick as Aberdeen see off Hibs

Gary Mackay-Steven shoots Aberdeen into a 2-0 lead

Mackay-Steven shoots Aberdeen into a 2-0 lead at Pittodrie

Gary Mackay-Steven scored a hat-trick as Aberdeen swept hapless Hibernian aside at Pittodrie.

Graeme Shinnie swept in the opening goal on 11 minutes before a series of defensive blunders allowed Mackay-Steven to net twice before half-time.

Mackay-Steven then capped a great display with a smart curling finish.

Hibs, who had been unbeaten away from home in the league since March, grabbed a late consolation when an Anthony Stokes shot deflected in off Shinnie.

Aberdeen move into second place, three points clear of Rangers, who slipped to a surprise home loss to St Johnstone.

The visitors remain in fourth spot, now nine points adrift of the Dons, having taken just one point from a disappointing run against the Premiership’s top three.

Hibs boss Neil Lennon had spoken during the week of the “outstanding” football his side had been playing, claiming their quality was second only to leaders Celtic.

Aberdeen had perhaps attracted fewer plaudits than the top flight newcomers and, after a sluggish first few minutes, set about showing why they have been Scotland’s second-best team for years now.

Everything about their opening goal underlined the classiness of a group that has become comfortable in its status as Celtic’s most credible challengers.

Kenny McLean fired a diagonal ball from right to left, the advancing Mackay-Steven cushioned a first-time pass into the path of Shinnie who, arriving late in the box, side-footed the ball past Ofir Marciano.

Graeme Shinnie sweeps in the opening goal in a dominant Dons display<!–

Shinnie sweeps in the opening goal in a dominant Dons display

As impressive as the goal was, Lennon must wonder why his goalkeeper hadn’t simply picked the ball up in the previous attack rather than clear for a throw-in.

That wasn’t the end of Hibs’ poor defensive decision-making and their inability to win decisive challenges was also a major factor in their downfall.

Mackay-Steven, not noted for his grit, broke through two Hibs defenders on the edge of the box and as he stumbled, managed to get his shot away to double Aberdeen’s lead via Marciano’s outstretched leg and the inside of the post.

Worse was to come before half-time as Efe Ambrose dithered in possession just inside his own half. Mackay-Steven, whose confidence was soaring, nipped in, sped away and beat Marciano with a calm finish.

If the Hibs manager had demanded a second-half reaction, he was to be disappointed.

Gary Mackay-Steven curls in his third goal in a one-sided contest<!–

Mackay-Steven curls in his third goal in a one-sided contest

None of his big players reached anything like their potential. John McGinn and Dylan McGeouch were no match for Shinnie and McLean, who bossed the midfield battle.

But this was Mackay-Steven’s day and his best performance in an Aberdeen shirt was underlined as he completed his hat-trick.

Combining with Stevie May, the winger bore into the box and, with his right foot, lashed the ball in off the far post.

It was a triumphant moment for him and a fabulous display – the best of the season – by Aberdeen, who were unfortunate to have an Andrew Considine header ruled offside.

For Hibernian, there was late consolation as Stokes’ shot took a massive deflection off Shinnie, which Lewis probably should still have been able to deal with.

It was only a slight blemish on a terrific afternoon for the home side, while Hibs – regardless of some good performances – have now won just one of their past six matches.

Live Text

Match ends, Aberdeen 4, Hibernian 1.

Second Half ends, Aberdeen 4, Hibernian 1.

Ryan Christie (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Steven Whittaker (Hibernian).

Goal! Aberdeen 4, Hibernian 1. Anthony Stokes (Hibernian) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the centre of the goal.

Attempt blocked. Greg Stewart (Aberdeen) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt saved. Nicky Maynard (Aberdeen) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Anthony Stokes (Hibernian).

Foul by Greg Stewart (Aberdeen).

Dylan McGeouch (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Substitution, Aberdeen. Nicky Maynard replaces Stevie May.

Foul by Kenny McLean (Aberdeen).

Anthony Stokes (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Kenny McLean (Aberdeen).

Anthony Stokes (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Shaleum Logan (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by John McGinn (Hibernian).

Substitution, Aberdeen. Scott Wright replaces Gary Mackay-Steven.

Gary Mackay-Steven (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Dylan McGeouch (Hibernian).

Attempt blocked. Ryan Christie (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Scott McKenna.

Steven Whittaker (Hibernian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Steven Whittaker (Hibernian).

Goal! Aberdeen 4, Hibernian 0. Gary Mackay-Steven (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Andrew Considine.

Attempt blocked. Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Substitution, Hibernian. Oli Shaw replaces Simon Murray.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Efe Ambrose.

Attempt blocked. Ryan Christie (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Greg Stewart (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Brandon Barker (Hibernian).

Substitution, Aberdeen. Greg Stewart replaces Adam Rooney.

Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Anthony O’Connor.

Foul by Stevie May (Aberdeen).

Steven Whittaker (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Anthony Stokes (Hibernian) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Andrew Considine.

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