Holders Hibs go down fighting in Scottish Cup semi-final as Aberdeen edge five-goal thriller

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Hibs 2 Aberdeen 3

Hibs lost their grip on the Scottish Cup as Aberdeen prevailed in a five-goal thriller.

The Championship winners had endured the worst possible start, conceding a goal to Adam Rooney’s opener after just 11 seconds.

A second for the Dons from Ryan Christie midway through the first-half looked to have sent the Pittodrie men into the final before half-time.

But substitute Grant Holt’s header before the break and an equaliser from Dylan McGeouch set up an exciting finale.

And it was Jonny Hayes who won it for the Premiership side with a deflected drive just five minutes from full-time.

There was still time for Joe Lewis to dive and grab a header from opposite number Ofir Marciano as Hibs desperately sought another equaliser in injury-time.

Easter Road manager Neil Lennon had expressed sympathy for the Aberdeen fans having to face an early kick-off in Glasgow.

But it was his own team who struggled to cope early on as they went behind after just 11 seconds.

John McGinn had his pocket picked straight from kick-off and in the blink of an eye Darren McGregor’s slack pass was pounced on by Rooney, who slotted brilliantly from the edge of the area.

PRESSING

It was the worst possible start for the holders and they looked shellshocked as Aberdeen continued to come at them.

The Dons’ pressing game was sending nerves flooding through the Easter Road defence and Efe Ambrose in particular looked uncomfortable with the ball at his feet.

The second was a disaster for Hibs yet again.

Fraser Fyvie conceded a foul with a lunging challenge on Aberdeen’s right flank eight yards from the bye-line.

Helped by McGeouch’s decision to leave the two-man wall, Christie spotted a gap at Ofir Marciano’s near post and produced a magnificent curling and dipping set-piece that sneaked in off the Hibs keeper’s outstretched fingers.

Hibs needed something to change and Lennon decided it should be a substitution. Holt was the man to give the capital outfit fresh impetus in place of Fyvie, who departed in anger.

Only two minutes later, the holders had given themselves a chance.

COMEBACK

Boyle picked up possession on the edge of centre circle and burst forward at pace. His superb cross was hung up into the middle of the six-yard box and Holt’s downward header nestled in the net.

From being dead and buried, Hibs now had hope and growing confidence.

And they completed their comeback from their disastrous start when they hauled themselves level in the 60th minute.

McGeouch found space on the halfway line and drove at the Dons defence. His brilliantly-executed 1-2 with Holt urged him into the heart of the Aberdeen box and his finish was cool.

Jason Cummings wasted a free-kick from 22 yards out when he hit it straight into the wall and the climax to the game was cruel on the Easter Road outfit.

Hayes drifted into a hole 30 yards out and his drive deflected off McGregor to wrong foot Marciano for a fortunate winner.

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