This is what I get for saying Lennon had turned Hibs into the second best footballing team in the league.
Aberdeen showed them what football really was today, handing out a first half punishment beating which left Lenny’s team reeling. I swear, me offering praise is like the Kiss of Death. It used to be the same when I was hypercritical; it would be almost like the Gods of Football were determined to prove what a mug I was.
I stand by what I wrote by the way; Hibs are the best technical footballing team we’ve played in Scotland this season and their display against Sevco, all but the result, showed how good they could be on their day. Today they were well beaten by a team that was stronger, more aggressive … and more clinical.
But much as I’m sure it would be fun for you all to have me mercilessly mock my own article (the comments section will almost certainly take care of that, and I have it coming the way Dave King has more court appearances in his future) the story today isn’t Hibs, in spite of the totality of their collapse here.
The story is Aberdeen and the exceptional display they dug out, for the second match in a row. They are playing with a confidence and a swagger. They look good. They look very good. And I am moved to wonder where that form was in the last few months.
I think it’s clear that McInnes was at least thinking about moving to Ibrox. I can’t help but wonder if on some level he made a calculation about what would have made his life easier if he was to end up there. Aberdeen’s form slump in that time stands out.
We know that the Ibrox operation is run by wholly unscrupulous men.
What seems readily apparent is that the manager’s situation adversely affected the club.
That’s not even in doubt. Whether the players got some kind of inkling from McInnes that he wasn’t committed or whether McInnes himself just couldn’t motivate himself to the job doesn’t really matter. The speculation had an impact.
And for Sevco and its media cronies that’s a job well done.
They must be well pleased at how they handled it. They are now going head to head with Aberdeen for that second spot having been well behind.
I have doubts about McInnes’ form in big games, but today was unarguably a big one and they have managed to navigate it with measured ease. I still don’t think he has as good a footballing team – technically I mean, or in their playing style – as that of Neil Lennon’s side (yeah I have the tin hat on) but they are more effective in terms of what they do. Today they were quite brilliant, and clinical with it. If Hibs had their finishing prowess they would have buried Sevco in midweek.
That’s the difference between sides that win things and those who don’t.
Aberdeen are unquestionably the “best of the rest” at getting results in these kind of matches.
They play us next week.
We’ll see how good their football is in that one.
But their form this season, but for that single spell, has been very decent indeed.
Mackay Steven today was absolutely exceptional, not just for his goals but for his all round play. The superb way he played for the third in particular, taking part in the move and then being on hand to finish so well, was different class. He looked, in that moment, like the player we thought we’d signed. I am delighted to see him doing well again, because he’s a good kid with bags of talent and he worked hard for Celtic even if the move was ultimately just too big for him.
Aberdeen have answered big questions today. They totally dominated that game, in the way Hibs dominated against Sevco in midweek. The difference was some quality finishing … and Efe Ambrose having an absolute nightmare didn’t hurt the Dons chances either.
One last thing made this result kind of inevitable, as if my high praise for Hibs wasn’t enough; they busted a gut in their last two games … and especially in one of them. And that’s what I want to look at in the next article.