Aberdeen boss Barry Robson praised the battling qualities of his side as they survived a poor performance to earn a point from a goalless draw at home to Hibernian that keeps them in pole position to finish third in the cinch Premiership.
On a day which started with a celebration of the club’s ‘Gothenburg Greats’, the Dons were poor on the pitch and had Kelle Roos to thank for a penalty save which earned them a point.
Hibs had been the better side throughout, but a goal never looked like coming until a penalty call from VAR referee Andrew Dallas saw Roos save Kevin Nisbet’s resultant spot-kick.
The home side ended with a number of players visibly nursing knocks and niggles, and Robson said: “I’m proud of the players and what they’ve given us. Over this last three months they’ve been outstanding.
“It was a big emotional game but we’ve kept another clean sheet. In football you don’t always play well and the most pleasing fact is that they dig in and fight and they come out with a point.
“I’m so pleased on that side of it because we didn’t have a good day and the boy didn’t play well. Can I sit here and get angry after what they’ve given me? No chance.
“I’m happy that we maintained our position. We kept a clean sheet and we move on.”
The sides traded blows until the 75th minute when a Hibs corner saw Elie Youan head off the crossbar and substitute Harry McKirdy’s strike seemingly come off the post.
However, VAR subsequently showed a Hayden Coulson handball and a spot-kick was awarded.
Nisbet stepped up confidently but his drive straight down the middle was saved by the legs of Roos, who survived a subsequent VAR check as to whether he had come off his line and the Dons support were suddenly alive again.
Hibernian boss Lee Johnson was also taking the positives from his side’s performance, saying: “I thought we were outstanding. I was super proud on a tactical level.
“Aberdeen have been on a good run but I honestly thought it was total domination. If that was a boxing match, it would have been stopped.
“Of course, they have threats, from set plays and areas like that. I didn’t think we produced enough quality in the final third, particularly in the first half.”
As well as the penalty, VAR also checked a nasty high challenge from Josh Campbell on Liam Scales which left both requiring treatment, but ultimately the Hibs man received only a yellow card.
Johnson added: “I was a bit worried as to whether Josh was going to be sent off.
“It was a high challenge but he was facing the wrong way so I understand why he wasn’t. Then obviously the key match moment never went our way.”