Blogs & Opinion


Andy Walker says Aberdeen and Hibs' SPL meeting could be crucial to their league ambitions

Andy Walker - Andy Walker Posted 21st January 2013 view comments

Given their poor home form this season, Aberdeen's home clash with Hibs this weekend - live on Sky Sports - is a tough one to call.

Pittodrie is far from the fortress it used to be for Craig Brown's men, who have just three home wins from eleven games this season.

Finishing second behind champions-elect Celtic will bring huge financial rewards and Hibs will also fancy their chances of going on the type of run that would generate this potential cash windfall.

Key: Griffiths (centre) crucial to Hibs' hopes of finishing second, says Walker

Key: Griffiths (centre) crucial to Hibs' hopes of finishing second, says Walker

Sunday's clash is also sure to focus on a shootout between two of the top men in the SPL this season.

I'm anticipating a game full of chances and that augurs well for a few goals with both Niall McGinn and Leigh Griffiths in sparkling form this season.

Former Celtic man McGinn - normally viewed as a wide midfielder - has taken to the role of striker exceptionally well and netted 14 times so far.

Craig Brown has almost 30 years more experience than Pat Fenlon but both managers must realise the importance of finishing second this season.

Andy Walker
Quotes of the week

Live on Sky Sports

Aberdeen v Hibs
12pm, Sun, Sky Sports 1 HD

Considering the variety of goals he gets, I imagine there's much more to come from the Northern Irishman and a target of more than 20 before the season is out is not beyond him.

McGinn has shown on the international stage with a goal away from home in a 1-1 draw with Portugal that he is capable of scoring on the big occasion and I thought he was unlucky not to have a bigger say at Celtic, but this move to Aberdeen has given him first team football every week and he's thriving on the added responsibility.

Like Aberdeen, Hibs are capable of big results and proof of how effective they can be was provided just before New Year when Pat Fenlon engineered an impressive 1-0 win over Celtic.

Hibs fans were given an enormous boost to their chances of finishing second when the club were able to secure the services of both Griffiths and defender Ryan McGivern til the end of the season. Griffiths, on loan from Wolves, has 15 goals to his credit so far and a final total in excess of 20 is possible.

Important

At 72, Brown has almost 30 years more experience than Pat Fenlon but both managers must realise the importance of finishing second this season in the absence of a title challenge to Celtic.

Brown can give Sir Alex Ferguson a run for his money in terms of longevity but he won't be around as manager for too much longer. The board of directors will no doubt be thinking of the longer term so finishing second and possibly getting to the final of the Scottish Cup would be a fitting send off for the former Scotland boss.

I think Pat Fenlon deserves enormous credit for putting to one side the humiliation and embarrassment of the 5-1 Scottish Cup final defeat to Hearts and getting a winning mentality back at Easter Road.

Even allowing for the excellent run of form from current high-flyers Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Motherwell, I believe both Aberdeen and Hibs have the strength in depth to go on the type of run that could see either finish higher in the table.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Jamie Redknapp

Redknapp: Costa's made a difference

Diego Costa has shown the impact he can have at Chelsea, but injuries are a worry, says Jamie Redknapp....

Gary Neville

Neville: Arsenal must sign a striker

Arsenal must sign a replacement for injured Olivier Giroud if they want to win the title, says Gary Neville....

Jeff Stelling

Stelling: Fears for Leeds

Jeff Stelling is worried that headline-making Leeds could end up slipping back into League One. ...

Latest News RSS feeds

Live transfer updates

Chelsea confirm a two-year loan deal with AC Milan for Fernando Torres, while several Manchester United exits are expected.

Torres heading for Milan

Chelsea striker Fernando Torres will have a medical at AC Milan on Saturday ahead of an agreed two-year loan deal.

Premier League preview

Chelsea travel to Everton for Saturday Night Football, while Super Sunday features Tottenham against Liverpool and Leicester versus Arsenal.

Top-four target for van Gaal

Louis van Gaal has set Manchester United an initial target of a top-four finish in this season's Premier League.

UEFA to revamp seeding system

UEFA has confirmed it is close to changing the seeding system for the group stages of the Champions League.

Features

Tottenham's Erik Lamela ready for Premier League lift off

Tottenham's Erik Lamela ready for Premier League lift off

Everyone agreed that Tottenham had acquired some fine players in the summer of 2013, but the notorious line that Spurs sold Elvis to buy the Beatles soon became a source of embarrassment. Not least because that cast young Erik Lamela as John Lennon, the most celebrated of the lot.

Analysis: Everton's signing of Samuel Eto'o can be significant on and off the pitch for Roberto Martinez's side

Analysis: Everton's signing of Samuel Eto'o can be significant on and off the pitch for Roberto Martinez's side

Saturday’s opponents Chelsea might have expected Everton’s Romelu Lukaku to come back to haunt them, but Jose Mourinho surely thought he’d seen the back of Samuel Eto’o. Instead he’s back in the Premier League and eyeing another challenge in his remarkable career.

Mario Balotelli's track record on the pitch makes him a gamble worth taking for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool

Mario Balotelli's track record on the pitch makes him a gamble worth taking for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool

When it comes to the art of signing players, few did it better than Brian Clough and Peter Taylor. In the latter’s book With Clough by Taylor he explained some of the science behind it in detailing how Nottingham Forest actively sought to buy players they perceived to have personal problems.