Last updated & checked: 10/08/2021
Hibs and Aberdeen will face off in what will be a crucial Scottish Premiership match at Easter Road. The two clubs will have similar ambitions this season, with hopes of finishing second high but the minimum expectation has to be qualifying for Europe. Therefore, in what looks like a very tight league, games against your rivals will be crucial to that.
Even at this early stage of the season, both of these sides have already played a lot of games as they looked to qualify for the Europa League. It didn’t happen for either, with Hibs losing to Molde after a remarkable run, whilst Aberdeen pushed Burnley all the way in a battle of Britain in which the Premier League side needed extra time to come through.
Therefore, it should be a feisty, competitive encounter in the capital and with both sides having collected four points from their opening two Scottish Premiership matches, they will approach it in good spirits. Neil Lennon’s Hibs comfortably beat Motherwell before drawing at St. Johnstone, whilst the Dons drew with Rangers in dramatic fashion before edging past Dundee.
Hibernian vs Aberdeen Prediction: Hibernian 2-1 Aberdeen
There’s no doubt that since Lennon arrived on the green and white side of Edinburgh he has set about making Easter Road a fortress and it’s worked. They have regularly beaten rivals Hearts whilst they also take points from the Old Firm on their own patch, whilst Derek McInnes and his men often struggle.
That home advantage, in front of what will be a hostile crowd, should ensure Hibs leave with a vaulable three points on Saturday and in truth it’s probably the best time to be playing Aberdeen. They showed against Burnley that they can still compete but the reality is they lost several long-serving important players in the summer, such as Kenny McLean and Adam Rooney, whilst Ryan Christie returned to Celtic. That, combined with star defender Scott McKenna’s injury means they will be up against it to get second place again this season and they will be up against it at Hibs this weekend. Whilst Hibs have lost John McGinn, who was their best player, they still have quality in the side and aren’t as disjointed as their opponents.
Our recommended tip: Hibs to win
There’s no doubt that Aberdeen will make it extremely hard for Hibs and they will understandably fancy their chances of getting a win, however they will need to find a performance level that has been lacking. In the two games against Burnley they were allowed to sit back and soak up pressure but the dynamics change in the SPL and it might not suit them.
Their last-gasp draw against Rangers came after a quite frankly awful performance and if they reproduce that they will have no chance at Easter Road. Lennon will have his team extremely fired up. It will be tight, it will be competitive and fine margins will decide the outcome but with home advantage you should expect Hibs to come through a ferocious encounter with the points.
With the top Scottish sides often playing each other four times a year in the league as well as in the cup competitions, it’s fair to say they all know about each other very well and these two sides are no different. And, it’s a fixture the Dons have dominated in recent years in fairness to them. They have won six of the past nine meetings, including losing just three of the last 14 at Easter Road.
Nevertheless, Hibs will take encouragement from the fact that they are unbeaten in the last two meetings, drawing at Pittodrie, whilst they beat them 2-0 in Edinburgh in the game before that. Those results should ensure they approach this game with no fear and they will want to start changing the recent history of this fixture by landing a win.
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Players to watch: Florian Kamberi & Gary Mackay-Steven
Hibs secured a permanent deal for Kamberi this summer and it was a great bit of business from Lennon and the board. The 23-year old striker has been a revelation since joining the club, netting nine goals in 14 games last season, whilst he did well in the Europa League this season. He is clearly a quality player and very calm in front of goal and will be the main danger for the hosts against the Dons. Many expect this to be a close game, which means it’s vital for Hibs that their big players step up, with Kamberi needing to be decisive when it matters to ensure they secure a win.
For the visitors, the star man is clear. Former Celtic man Mackay-Steven has begun the season in sparkling form and is showing his undoubted talent on a regular basis. He netted twice in a recent cup win over St. Mirren, whilst he scored the winner against Dundee in the previous league game. However, it’s not just about the goals for the 27-year old wide man. McInnes lost several key players this season, many of them creative options and he needed someone to step up, with Mackay-Steven so far doing so. He boasts good pace, sound technique and has some outrageous skills. If he is on form, like Kamberi, he has the individual quality to decide what should be an even game.