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Miovski strike beats Hibs to earn 10-man Aberdeen place in League Cup final

Bojan Miovski’s sensational late winner earned 10-man Aberdeen a 1-0 Viaplay Cup semi-final victory over Hibernian at Hampden Park. The Easter Road side edged a scrappy first half and were denied an opener in the 49th minute when VAR ruled attacker Martin Boyle was offside before he had the ball in the Aberdeen net.

The Aberdeen defender Jack MacKenzie was sent off by the referee, John Beaton, in the 75th minute for picking up a second yellow card for a silly push on the Hibs defender Lewis Miller. But just as it looked like the tide was turning towards Leith, Miovski broke clear three minutes later to drive in his 10th goal of the season, leaving Hibs kicking themselves.

Aberdeen will take on Rangers or Hearts, who play in Sunday’s other semi-final at the national stadium, in the 17 December final, and after riding their luck against Hibs, they may feel their name could be on the trophy.

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Neither Aberdeen nor Hibs were in sparkling form going into the game. Under Nick Montgomery, who was appointed the Hibs manager in September, the Leith outfit were five matches without a win, albeit four were drawn, while Aberdeen’s midweek victory at Motherwell was their first in five matches.

The Aberdeen manager, Barry Robson, part of the Pittodrie side who won the competition in 2014, brought in midfielder Connor Barron, with Dante Polvara dropping to the bench. The Hibs goalkeeper David Marshall replaced Jojo Wollacott, with left-back Jordan Obita, midfielder Joe Newell and Boyle also returning.

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Celtic geared up for their midweek Champions League trip to Atletico Madrid by moving eight points clear at the top of the cinch Premiership with a 3-0 win at 10-man Ross County.

The hosts were up against it following an early red card for James Brown, but – inspired by a brilliant display from goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw – they stood firm until David Turnbull made the breakthrough for the Hoops in first-half stoppage time.

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Second-half goals from substitutes Luis Palma and James Forrest allowed the leaders to see the match out in comfortable fashion ahead of their Tuesday night showdown with Atleti in the Spanish capital.

Innes Cameron scored his first league goal of the season as
Kilmarnock edged out Motherwell 1-0 at Rugby Park. The striker,
who came on to replace injured skipper Kyle Vassell early in the
match, blasted David Watson’s cutback high into the roof of the net
to give Killie the lead just after half-time.

The home side
spurned numerous chances to extend their lead but the one goal proved
enough as they moved back up to fourth in the cinch Premiership with
their third straight home win. Motherwell also came close
through Paul McGinn but they fell to their sixth defeat in seven
games to remain just a point clear of the relegation play-off
positions.

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It was an untidy start to the game but in the eighth minute, as Hibs broke with pace and purpose, the backtracking Barron did well to put Élie Youan’s intended pass to Boyle behind for a corner. The pressure ended when Youan scooped a shot from 12 yards over the bar when he ought to have at least hit the target.

Ten minutes later, Jair Tavares’ shot from an Obita cut-back was blocked by the Aberdeen defender Stefan Gartenmann for another corner which came to nothing. At the other end, in Aberdeen’s first real foray, Miovski pulled the ball back for Graeme Shinnie but he failed to connect properly 12 yards from goal and the chance was lost.

The second half could only get better and within minutes of the restart the Aberdeen right-back Nicky Devlin did well to clear a Miller cut-back for yet another Hibs corner which the Granite City side survived.

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However the Pittodrie defence was soon to be breached. A long ball up the park from Will Fish was pulled out the air by the speedy Boyle before he raced on to knock it past Kelle Roos from 12 yards, but a lengthy VAR check ruled him offside.

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The game then sparked into life. Hibs kept pushing and Roos made a fine save from Tavares’ angled drive, and Dylan Vente’s goalbound shot from a Youan pass hit Devlin and went behind.

Barron made way for Polvara but soon the below-par Aberdeen had more to worry about when MacKenzie, already booked for a foul on Miller, chased after the Hibs defender to push him and receive a second yellow and a red card from Beaton.

It looked ominous for Robson’s side but in sensational fashion, Miovski raced on to a Polvara pass and confidently beat Marshall with an angled shot from 12 yards. The Aberdeen fans were in raptures and Miovski had another chance when he got through the Hibs rearguard but chipped past the post.

Hibs pressed hard in the closing stages – substitute Christian Doidge sent a header wide – but seven added minutes could not bring an equaliser and it was Aberdeen’s day.