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30 August 2020 20:32

Alfredo Morelos Rangers F.C. Gary McAllister

Hibernian have lost their unbeaten start to the Scottish Premiership season after Lewis Ferguson's penalty condemned the men in green and white to their first defeat of the campaign at the hands of Aberdeen. The Dons midfielder converted from 12 yards after Martin Boyle brought down Marley Watkins in the area after the hosts missed a slew of good opportunities in the opening 45 minutes. Joe Lewis saved from Martin Boyle and Josh Doig before Ferguson tucked away the only goal of the game, while Drey Wright spurned a superb second half chance. The Easter Road side were hardly dealt an easy hand in the hours leading up to kick off after it was confirmed Alex Gogic was to miss following a false positive COVID-19 test on Friday. The Cypriot stopper was replaced by Melker Hallberg, while Drey Wright came in for Daryl Horgan, who Jack Ross confirmed was close to a move away from the club, in the only other change from the win at St Johnstone.

The men in green and white were almost handed the lead inside the opening minute when Lewis flapped at a cross from the left, but Boyle could only shoot straight at the backtracking Dons stopper when teed up by Scott Allan on the edge of the box. Lewis had to be at full stretch ten minutes later to push a Doig piledriver over the crossbar after the teenager picked up a loose ball 25 yards from goal when the visitors failed to clear a corner. The men in green and white were making all the early running and Lewis was called into action again on 16 minutes, this time getting his body behind Boyle's drive after he was picked out by a superb cross-field Wright pass. Christian Doidge scored Hibs final goal before last season was prematurely ended against Aberdeen in March and the Welsh forward should have provided a much better finish when Allan dummied a Hallberg ball into his path on 25 minutes rather than curling the ball high and wide. At the other end, Ofir Marciano was off his line quickly to block Ryan Hedges close-range effort following a neat link up with Scott Wright, before getting a strong hand to a Marley Watkins strike 13 minutes before the break.

But the men in green and white had failed to convert any of the opportunities coming their way and they were punished on 39 minutes when Ferguson converted from the spot. Jamie Murphy was introduced for his Easter Road bow in the second period, but it was Wright that spurned a glorious chance to draw Hibs level, pulling his effort across goal when slipped in one-on-one with Lewis by Paul McGinn after 60 minutes. The Dons, for their part, were solid as they dug out three points, substitutes Curtis Main and Dylan McGeouch forcing Marciano into action. Doidge headed wide from a Mallan corner late on, but Hibs were unable to find a way through the Aberdeen rearguard as Ross's men go into the first international break of the season on the back of a defeat. Hibs: Marciano, McGinn, Porteous, Hanlon (C), Doig (Mallan, 64), Hallberg (Gullan, 71), Allan (Murphy, 52), Newell, Wright, Doidge, Boyle Aberdeen: Lewis, Hoban, Considine, McKenna, Hedges (McGinn, 76), Hayes, Ferguson, Wright (McGeouch, 67), Kennedy, McCrorie, Watkins (Main, 74) Aberdeen midfielder Lewis Ferguson ended Hibernian's unbeaten start to the Scottish Premiership season with a penalty winner in a 1-0 victory at Easter Road following coronavirus disruption for the hosts. Hibs' weekend ended in further disappointment after Martin Boyle conceded a penalty amid little danger and Ferguson converted 39 minutes into an entertaining first half to earn the Dons victory. Hibs were also without Daryl Horgan after head coach Jack Ross confirmed that the Irish winger was set to leave the club in the coming days. Ryan Hedges earned a recall for the Dons after scoring a Europa League hat-trick off the bench against NSI Runavik and Tommie Hoban also came in as both sides lined up with three-man defences. Boyle might have had an inkling it would not be his day when he failed to capitalise on Joe Lewis's early slip, shooting straight at the goalkeeper, who was well off his line. Lewis made a good stop from Josh Doig's powerful first-time strike from long range and from another Boyle strike after Wright had found the wing-back with a brilliant crossfield ball on the break. Ofir Marciano denied Hedges and Marley Watkins following sharp passing moves and Christian Doidge missed a good chance for the hosts after an excellent pass from Hallberg. The breakthrough came out of the blue as Boyle picked up a loose ball inside his box and looked for a team-mate. Watkins came in on his blind side and nicked the ball as the winger swung his foot and took out the Dons striker. Aberdeen looked solid in the opening stages of the second half and Matty Kennedy and McCrorie got long-range efforts on target. Their best chance came from a brilliant ball inside a defender by Paul McGinn but Wright played a square ball to nobody when he had the option to shoot. Marciano made decent late stops from substitutes Curtis Main and Dylan McGeouch as Aberdeen moved up to fourth place.