An Aberdeen side clearly low on confidence slipped to defeat at Easter Road on another afternoon where, for all that they clearly came up short, nor were they helped by the officials or by Lady Luck, who appears to have taken 2021 off.
Derek McInnes made two changes to his side after the defeat at home to Livingston on Tuesday night. There was a welcome return from injury for Dylan McGeouch, Matty Kennedy also coming back into the side having come on as a sub early on Tuesday. Ryan Hedges was sidelined by his long-term chest injury and Connor McLennan started from the bench. Ethan Ross joined the substitutes. Hibernian, meanwhile, were unchanged from the side that beat ten man St. Mirren 2-1 on Tuesday night.
There was drama after just four minutes as Greg Leigh, heading towards his own goal, caught his foot in the turf. As he stumbled on the decidedly ropey looking surface, he tried to stab the ball back to Joe Lewis but left it short, leaving Cadden clean through. The captain stood up tall and made a terrific save, clawing the ball to safety. After treatment, a visibly distressed Leigh had to make way, McLennan coming on to replace him.
The Dons reorganised quickly and began to pen the hosts in. Following good play, Lewis Ferguson picked out Ross McCrorie on the edge of the box in the 11th minute. He hit his shot crisply, Marciano, beating it away, Fraser Hornby following up but having his effort cleared.
McGregor had to be sharp to deny Hornby two minutes later, McGeouch playing a lovely ball over the top that seemed to have Hornby in, McGregor coming across with a brilliant last ditch clearance. Next, an air shot from McLennan saw a 19th minute chance go begging after good work from Kennedy and Ferguson.
Boyle after making another good run got behind the defence on 24 minutes, but from a tight angle, he forced Lewis into saving with a part of the anatomy that you don't want to be saving the ball with, especially not on a bitterly cold afternoon.
The officials took centre stage again two minutes later with a decision from the referee to give the home side a penalty. Murphy poked the ball out of play then simply ran into Ferguson. With Hibs' players jogging back into their own half for the goal kick, referee Collum pointed to the spot. Boyle tucked the penalty into the corner with the diving Lewis inches from saving.
On 37 minutes, McCrorie was on the run only for Gogic to step across and body check him to the ground. No free-kick was given. Two minutes later, Murphy threaded Boyle through in the box, looking offside again. No flag, but Lewis again stood up to make a brilliant save from point blank range and keep the Dons in the game.
A minute before the break, Tommie Hoban went down and needed treatment after taking a whack in the face from Doidge. Fortunately, he was able to carry on.
HALF-TIME: HIBERNIAN 1 ABERDEEN 0
Lewis was down at the feet of Doidge to mop up in the opening minute of the second half, a reasonably comfortable save after a heavy touch from the striker.
There were claims for a Dons penalty in the 50th minute, Ferguson flicking the ball forward, Hornby trying to take the ball inside. It clearly hit Hanlon's right hand, with the same level of intent as the penalty Hoban conceded at St Mirren back in December. No penalty kick this time, the right decision.
Gogic went into the book in the 54th minute, catching McLennan as the two challenged for the ball, though there looked nothing much in it. Four minutes later, Callum Hendry and Niall McGinn joined the action, McLennan and McGeouch replaced. Irvine required treatment in the 65th minute after falling awkwardly in a challenge with Ferguson and he was replaced by Magennis, Doig simultaneously replaced by Stevenson.
Boyle was played in behind once again by a Stevenson pass in the 68th minute and this time, Lewis couldn't save his side, Boyle sliding the ball underneath him and in.
Shay Logan replaced Ash Taylor in the 76th minute, Hallberg on for Hibs at the same time, Murphy making way.
The way things are going for the Dons was summed up in the 80th minute, Aberdeen denied by the woodwork for the third time in three games. Hornby got on the end of a Kennedy cross, his header clipping McGregor, looping over Marciano but smacking against the bar and bouncing to safety. Nisbet then replaced Doidge in Hibs' final change after 85 minutes, Hibs managing the last few minutes of the game professionally as they sealed the three points.
There was a late flurry from the Dons, McGinn having a shot charged down, Hendry then taking a whack in the final seconds as he tried to get on the end of a corner, adding injury to insult.