The Better-Balanced TeamAberdeen's victory over Hibs at Easter Road was as easily pained as the score suggests. The Dons were undoubtedly the better balanced and more cohesive company, yet their football did not attain the same heights of brilliance it on many occasions last season. To defeat Hibs at Easter Road, however, was a good opening performance, and should have a beneficial effect on the morale of the team. Once the players settle down there seems no reason why the Dons should not again prove a force to be reckoned with in Scottish football.
Dons' AdvantageThe Aberdeen team on Saturday had an advantage over Hibs in that they were familiar with one another's play. Hibs showed any amount of pluck, but they were disjointed, and the fact that Brady was injured early in the game and had to go to outside right did not tend to improve matters. Play seldom attained a high standard, but it was always keen and interesting, and what little good, constructive football was seen was produced by Aberdeen. The Dons were a cut above the opposition, and although play had been in progress forty minutes before they opened their account the points always seemed safe. From the kick-off Aberdeen had the better of the exchanges, and, but for their own lack of finishing power, combined with the brilliance of Gourlay, the home 'keeper, they would have scored long before they did. It was rather ironical that Gourlay, after preventing many scoring shots from entering the net, should in no small way be responsible for Aberdeen's first goal. It came about this way. Gourlay left his charge in an effort to prevent a corner; he failed to hold the ball, and Lang crossed for Beynon to practically walk it into the net.
Another BlowHibs were given no time to recover from this blow. From the re-centre Aberdeen broke away. Jones failed to clear, and Armstrong ran through on his own to send the ball into the net. In the second half Aberdeen seemed content to hang on their lead, and for the most part concentrated on defence. Hibs, on the other hand, made desperate efforts to open their account. The Dons' defence was severely tested at times, but was generally master of the Hibs' attack. With twenty-six minutes gone, a mix-up in the home defence led Aberdeen to Aberdeen's third goal. Jones failed clear the ball in a goalmouth scrimmage and Beynon succeeded in getting it across for Lang to send into an empty goal. Although three goals in arrears, Hibs continued to fight back, and McKay headed into the net from a Ritchie cross. Steve Smith stopped the ball, but it squirmed out of his grasp into the net.
Defence Takes CreditThe Pittodrie defence emerged from the game with credit. Thanks to the fine covering up by Cooper, McGill and Falloon, Smith in goal had little more ado than clear loose balls. Cooper, a safe clean-kicking hack, was the outstanding defender afield and gave Gardiner, Hibs' new left-winger from Broughty ex-Service junior club, few chances. McGill had more difficulty with Ritchie, the former Third Lanark winger, but held his own. Falloon was a stalwart in defence. He kept a watchful eye on Black, the nippy Hibs leader, and was ever ready to go to the assistance of his backs. Thomson, who in the first half combined defence and attack judiciously, was the better wing half. Honours in attack went to Beynon and Armstrong. The right-winger was apt to get flustered at times, but did a lot of useful work, and besides scoring the first goal, played a prominent part in the third. Armstrong led the line well and gave Jones many anxious moments. The understanding which existed between the centre and Mills often had the Hibs defence guessing. Mills distributed the ball cleverly in the first half, but was less prominent after the interval McKenzie was a hard worker, but did little of note, while Lang, apart from scoring, was seldom in the limelight. Hibs will have to show a big all-round improvement, otherwise may again find themselves fighting to avoid relegation. Gourlay, the former Partick Thistle keeper, was the outstanding personality in the side, and but for him Aberdeen would probably have won by a bigger margin. The backs, Prior and Dunsmore, showed promise, but suffered from a lack of understanding, while Egan was the only member of the half-back trio to impress. Wilson was a trifle slow and Jones could not keep Armstrong in check. The attack was wholehearted but deficient in understanding. Black and McKay were, the most enterprising of the quintette.
Source: Press & Journal, 10th August 1936