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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 January 2007, 16:54 GMT
Hibernian 0-0 Aberdeen
Ricky Foster and Ivan Sproule
Ricky Foster and Ivan Sproule battle it out at Easter Road
Hibernian and Aberdeen fought out an entertaining stalemate at Easter Road as both sides struggled to find a way through two stubborn defences.

The home side looked the better team throughout but the Dons defence was a tougher proposition with skipper Russell Anderson back in the side.

Chris Killen spurned the best chance of the match early in the first half as he lobbed a shot wide.

There were few clear cut opportunities and Aberdeen will be the happier side.

Hibs welcomed back Ivan Sproule following his four match suspension and he came straight back into the starting line up with Dean Shiels - also returning from a ban - on the bench.

Kevin Thomson started for the home side despite being stripped of the captaincy and his replacment Rob Jones took up his usual berth in the centre of defence.

Aberdeen were able to welcome back captain Anderson after flu and he replaced the suspended Michael Hart, with Steve Lovell starting up front at the expense of teenager Chris Maguire.

It was the Edinburgh club who started the brighter with their usual brand of attack-minded football.

Chris Killen - the SPL's top scorer following the exit of Anthony Stokes from Falkirk - had the first real chance early on.

A long ball from Shelton Martis was left by Anderson and the New Zealander Killen nipped in behind the Dons defence only to see his lob beat Jamie Langfield and the post as it crept wide.

The visitor's only first half chance came from Chris Clark whose tame long range effort was easily gathered by Hibs goalkeeper Andrew McNeil.

Sproule was clearly relishing his return to the action and was deployed on either flank and was the inspiration of most positive Hibs attacks.

From a cross by the Northern Irishman, a mis-hit effort by Killen fell kindly for Thomson 18 yards from goal, but the midfielder hoisted his shot over the bar.

Guillaume Beuzelin and Gary Dempsey
Dempsey does enough to put Beuzelin off as he gets a shot away

Aberdeen were better in the second period as Jimmy Calderwood dropped Lovell back into a midfield five.

The former Dundee striker sent a glancing header across the face of goal, after connecting with a good Mackie cross which came from the left wing.

Sproule also had an effort cleared off the line by a Zander Diamond back-heel.

Diamond was then caught in possession by Brown and Sproule was handed another opportunity to drive at Foster.

This time the sprightly forward managed to cut inside his marker but could only stab a shot off target.

The Dons brought veteran new signing Craig Brewster on for his debut and the former Hibs striker added a different threat up front, winning just about everything in the air.

However, as the match entered its closing stages, both sides were guilty of conceding possession too easily and it was the two goalkeepers who took the honours with clean sheets all round.

The sides meet again next week at Pittodrie in the third round of the Scottish Cup.

Hibernian: McNeil, Whittaker, Jones, Martis, Murphy, Scott Brown, Stewart, Thomson, Sproule (Shiels 79), Killen (Benjelloun 67), Beuzelin.

Subs not used: Simon Brown, Glass, Fletcher, Hogg, Stevenson.

Booked: Stewart, Beuzelin.

Aberdeen: Langfield, Diamond, Anderson, Severin, Considine, Dempsey, Clark, Foster, Mackie, Miller (Brewster 64), Lovell (Maguire 75).

Subs not used: Soutar, Touzani, Daniel Smith, Winter, Donald.

Booked: Clark.

Att: 16,278

Referee: B Winter.

Collins explains skipper change
02 Jan 07 |  Hibernian
Calderwood happy at capital point
02 Jan 07 |  Aberdeen


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