The mere mention of Aberdeen may still be enough to elicit pained howls of derision from those of a Hibs persuasion.

Last time against the Dons was one of the most painful near misses in recent history, a golden chance to reach the League Cup final, and a 90 minutes during which Nick Montgomery's side were largely dominant. When the Dons' Jack MacKenzie was sent for an early bath, the outcome looked to be heading only one way.

But the football gods seemed to conspire against Hibs at the national stadium thereafter, a Bojan Mioski goal dealing them a hammer blow from which they could not recover. Add to that the pain of a marginally offside call denying Martin Boyle, and Dylan Vente being refused a penalty in an incident remarkably similar to one which benefited Rangers in the other semi-final, and it really was 'one of those days'.

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The two teams meet again on Sunday, with Aberdeen visiting Easter Road for the first time this term. Looking back on the semi-final may still be among the last things Hibs fans fancy doing, but if the frustration can be put to the side for a time, there was plenty in the match itself from which they can take encouragement.

In terms of chances created, it was among Hibs' most productive outings of the season, although that probably just heightens the sense of regret. In terms of building on that to secure another three points this weekend, though, it's worth looking at how those opportunities came about.

Two of Hibs' most well-worked openings on the day involved Joe Newell.

Aberdeen were frequently content to sit off Hibs in their shape, occasionally waiting for specific triggers to press. At a numerical disadvantage in midfield (3v2), Hibs would, as they often do, rely on an attacking player dropping in to link up. This would drag an Aberdeen player in with them, and there were instances in either half of Newell waiting for the right moment to exploit the space that would then leave.

Take the below example, where Hibs work up the pitch into a good area, and patiently recycle the ball in search of an opening.

Hibs Observer:

Do this for long enough and, sooner or later, an opposing player is likely to seek an opportunity to press. In this instance, the ball is played back to Newell, Connor Barron loses patience and makes a move to press. Newell sees his chance to step onto the ball, and he breaks through Aberdeen's midfield line on his own with a driving run, getting a shot off which is saved by Kelle Roos.

Hibs Observer:

In the second-half, Hibs again patiently recycle in midfield. Newell again receives the ball, and Jair makes a move similar to that from which he started the move for his goal against Dundee.

Hibs Observer:

The Portuguese is very good at turning opponents when he gets into that position, dropping and taking the ball with his back to goal. But it also presents a chance for midfielders to run off him, and is perhaps something Hibs could do more of, considering how frequently Jair makes that particular movement. Here, Newell bounces the ball off his team-mate and again drives through Aberdeen's midfield, switching the ball out to Dylan Vente, and moments later comes the incident where he went down under pressure from Roos.

Hibs Observer: Hibs Observer:

As for what Hibs can expect from Aberdeen, they remain a predictably unpredictable team. Going from taking a 6-0 hiding at Celtic, to coming with a whisker of beating Rangers just about sums up Barry Robson's Dons. Struggling in their next Premiership fixture following a European tie has been a theme, and they will arrive at Easter Road having been away to HJK in Helsinki on Thursday evening.

Results and performances have fluctuated, but they have remained relatively consistent in their direct approach. Aberdeen like to play forward early, often deploying two strikers, and then look to their midfielders to back up the attack, picking up second balls or making supporting runs.

Their pass network from the draw with Rangers indicates it's generally Jamie McGrath who requires the most attention in supporting the forwards - look at the close proximity to Bojan Miovski, in particular, when receiving the ball.

Hibs Observer:

The obvious danger is Miovski, as Hibs found out to their extreme cost at Hampden. With the Macedonian in the side, Aberdeen have proven themselves capable of being able to punish teams despite creating relatively few chances. There was nothing complicated about their goal against Rangers - Roos firing a long ball for Esther Sokler to flick into Miovski's path, with the forward finishing ruthlessly beyond Jack Butland. 

His goal was further evidence that even when kept out of the game for long periods, he frequently only requires one opportunity. His goal against Hibs at Hampden was his first significant involvement in the match, the hallmark of a truly potent striker.


Hibs Observer:

Unsurprisingly, a higher-than-average number of his touches are shots. His overall number of shots is actually slightly below the league average for strikers, which given his goal return, serves to underline how efficient he has been for Aberdeen.

Keep him quiet, create as many chances as they did at Hampden, and Hibs have every chance of making it three Premiership victories on the spin.