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:

Martin Tyler

Tyler's stats and facts

Which letter surname gets the most goals? Who has made the most passes? Martin has the stats......

Guillem Balague

Balague: Real lack logic

Guillem Balague says Real Madrid’s poor football judgement has left them weaker than last season....

Alan Smith

Smith - Welbeck exit sad for United

Alan Smith says many Man Utd fans will be upset to see Danny Welbeck move to Arsenal....

Latest News RSS feeds

Live transfer updates

Aston Villa seal Tom Cleverley loan, Cesar Azpilicueta signs new Chelsea deal and Wayne Rooney welcomes Radamel Falcao.

Stones handed England start

John Stones has been named in England’s starting line-up for Wednesday night’s friendly against Norway.

Yorke: United spree could win title

Radamel Falcao can fire Manchester United to the Premier League title this season, says Dwight Yorke.

Rooney salutes Falcao arrival

England captain Wayne Rooney claims Manchester United have made a statement of intent by bringing in Radamel Falcao.

Cleverley joins Villa on loan

Tom Cleverley has joined Aston Villa on a season-long loan from Manchester United, both clubs have confirmed.

Features

Free Transfer XI: The pick of the players still available following the closure of the transfer window

Free Transfer XI: The pick of the players still available following the closure of the transfer window

Still not had your transfer fix? There are still players out there looking to find a new club this summer...

The Science of Scouting: Abroad

The Science of Scouting: Abroad

The globalisation of football is an opportunity for clubs savvy enough to identify talent from abroad. However, with players being expected to adapt to a new country, the risks are increased in line with the reward.