Hibs change the mood music in Aberdeen as superstition and substitutions prove a winner for David Gray

Christian Doidge celebrates netting Hibs' second in the 2-0 win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie. (Photo by Ewan Bootman / SNS Group)
Christian Doidge celebrates netting Hibs' second in the 2-0 win over Aberdeen at Pittodrie. (Photo by Ewan Bootman / SNS Group)

In the end, it was Hibs who got the pick-me-up, ensuring they are able to welcome their new management team with a greater degree of optimism.

But for Aberdeen, who were booed off the pitch following a tired looking performance - both mentally and physically - it was a reminder that combining European adventures with domestic duties is not easy.

Speaking before the match, Aberdeen boss Barry Robson was still bubbling with positivity, despite the fact that his side have not banked a win in the Premiership, insisting that the results will come. But, having watched his men put in a weary show against a Hibs team who dug deeper and were more switched on when it mattered, despite their excursions at Villa Park on Thursday, many fans struggled to tap into that upbeat attitude and the team were booed off the pitch.

Hibs had been sitting bottom of the table after opening their league campaign with three defeats. That had cost Lee Johnson and his assistants their jobs, leaving David Gray to reprise the interim role he performed in the wake of Jack Ross and then Shaun Maloney’s exits.

Whether it was his work and superstition (the club legend refused to take off his training top despite the temperatures at Pittodrie as he associated removing the attire with goals conceded against Villa), or a realisation from the players that with their European fun over for the season, the onus was on them to up their game in the league, and prove themselves to whoever takes hold of the reins.

There were, of course, also the substitutions to take into consideration as Adam Le Fondre and Christian Doidge came off the bench to replace Josh Campbell and Dylan Vente, who had worked themselves into the ground as part of a team performance that that was dogged and unified. From David Marshall’s superb save from a deflected James McGarry shot to the intense battles between Duk and Lewis Miller and Bojan Miovski and Lewis Stevenson at one end and the headaches Elie Youan caused Slobodan Rubezic at the other, there was plenty of intrigue. But while Aberdeen started on the front foot and Nicky Devlin came close with a header in the opening minutes, Hibs successfully took the sting out of their play.

Patient, they stuck to their task, but it took until the experienced frontmen took to the pitch to add some guile and tenacity to go with all their team-mates’ earlier endeavour, to get the breakthrough.

The first was down to Doidge chasing a lost cause. The Welshman played it back to Joe Newell and he laid it off to Le Fondre who had time and space to pick his spot and net the opener.

That looked like it would be enough but they made sure with nine minutes remaining. This time Le Fondre forced a fingertip save from Kelle Roos and from that corner Doidge headed off the bar but when it was nodded back into the area by Paul Hanlon, Doidge was the hungrier and backheaded it the goal.