A huge weekend of SPL action in which the title could be decided. Aberdeen are concentrating on Europe and this weekend could see them take a huge step to getting there.
Jimmy Calderwood:- ‘Hibs deserve credit for doing so well and winning a cup since John Collins arrived at Easter Road, said Calderwood.
‘But I would argue the side that included the likes of Garry O’Connor, Derek Riordan and Kevin Thomson was stronger than the one that will be at Pittodrie.
‘Hibs will also be without Scott Brown, who is a marvellous player.’
‘Everyone at Hibs will be playing for places in the Scottish Cup semi-final replay with Dunfermline next week.
‘They have already won the League Cup and have every chance of adding to it, so what has happened in the past doesn’t matter. If they have strong characters, which I think they do, they can rise above it.
‘If you have anything about you as a player, you will sort things out and get on with your job.’
Ricky Foster:- ‘Hearts face Rangers at Ibrox tomorrow which is going to be a tough game for them,’
‘We’re hoping Hearts will drop points and if we can beat Hibs then that will take us one step closer to Europe.
‘The next five games are huge and considering we’ve worked so hard all week it would be devastating not to make Europe now.
‘It’s in our own hands as we’re three points ahead of Hearts.
‘They need to catch us but as long as we take care of our results then that won’t happen.’
Aberdeen Team News:
Hopefully the re-inclusion of Jamie Smith and Barry Nicholson will not come too early after their recent layoffs but no doubt Calderwood will be ecstatic to be able to include tonsillitis victims Russell Anderson and Craig Brewster in a squad that is only now missing Richie Byrne again.
Aberdeen squad: Langfield, Anderson, Diamond, Hart, Foster, Considine, Lovell, Maguire, Severin, Touzani, Clark, Miller, Mackie, J Smith, Nicholson, Soutar, Brewster, D Smith, Winter, Donald, McVitie.
Player to watch: Craig Brewster
Craig Brewster has been a standout in matches against Hibs this season already and will no doubt feature again in this one. Lets hope he can recreate his previous goalscoring form in this vital match.
Hibernian Team News:
The much sought after Scott Brown is serving a welcome suspension but excellent young goalkeeper Andrew McNeil is back along with the talented Abdessalam Benjelloun. Hibs are expected to rest a few of their key men to prepare for the Scottish Cup Semi-Final replay and include a couple of players who will be unknown to fans and team alike.
Hibernian squad: McNeil, Whittaker, Jones, Hogg, Murphy, Sproule, Beuzelin, Stevenson, Scott Brown, Gray, Zemmama, McCann, Chisholm, Simon Brown, Fletcher, Benjelloun, Lynch, Campbell.
Player to watch: Hibs Youth
Jimmy Calderwood is probably still trying to get to grip with the last batch of quality youngsters to emerge from Easter Road and now John Collins is said to be pitching another lot into this fairly meaningless fixture for his team as they concentrate on other more pressing matters.
Match Facts & Stats
Stuart Dougal:- This match is privileged to have one of Scotland’s top men in charge but he revealed he also has a sense of humour as when asked what being a referee means to him he replied, ‘it’s obviously a large part of my life. I am involved in my favourite sport and at a level I could not attain as a player. Mind you, I could probably have been a manager because that must be an easy job. It appears to be that it’s referees who make it a difficult one!!
The Dons take on Kilmarnock at Pittodrie next week as the huge games keep coming.