Aberdeen 2 Hibernian 1

Aberdeen kept their slim hopes of reaching third spot in the table and thus qualifying for the UEFA Cup following a bruising 2-1 home victory against Hibernian.

The visitors completely capitulated in the final quarter of the match.

After taking the lead early in the second half through Dean Shiels they had both Thierry Gathuessi and Colin Nish sent off for dissent. Following the match Hibs boss Mixu Paatelainen was obviously seething, but placed no blame on referee Stuart Dougal, instead questioning why his players should challenge decisions made by the referee so vociferously when there could only be one outcome.

Aberdeen passed up an excellent opportunity to take an early lead on five minutes. Barry Nicholson steadied himself in midfield before playing in a clever clipped ball to Lee Miller, his downward header back across the area was screwed horribly wide by Chris Maguire with the goal at his mercy.

On seven minutes Hibs countered at the other end. Jamie Langfield did not look too convincing when he parried Abdessalam Benjelloun's left-foot effort wide at the expense of a fruitless corner.

Hibs had an escape on 12 minutes as Nicholson and Alan Maybury linked well down the right where the full-back played a great cross on to the head of Miller, the striker did everything right with a powerful downward header, however with his keeper beaten Hibs skipper Rob Jones hacked the ball off the line.

Following a lull in proceedings a fantastic shot from the visitors' John Rankin on 30 minutes flew narrowly over the crossbar with Langfield beaten.

With 48 minutes gone Dons' skipper Scott Severin was on the end of good link up play between Nicholson and Maybury, the midfielder however blazed wildly over from the edge of the area.

Hibs went ahead on 52 minutes when Shiels drove straight at the centre of the Dons' defence rounding Zander Diamond before finishing with aplomb low into the net from 12 yards.

But Aberdeen's response was immediate, a long diagonal ball from Maybury was headed down by Miller into the path of Nicholson, his first-time effort was brilliantly blocked by Andrew McNeil.

In the 62nd minute a lightening quick break almost brought a vital second goal for the visitors. However, Langfield looked very lively to race from his line to save bravely at the feet of Rankin.

Aberdeen took full advantage of this let-off as they got back on terms on 64 minutes. Second-half sub Darren Mackie's persistence paid off as he claimed his first league goal of the campaign.

Hibs defenders Ian Murray and Martin Canning were unsettled by the striker's pace, failing to clear the ball, the ball sat up nicely for Mackie to roll the ball into the unguarded net.

The game was turned completely on its head on 70 minutes when Gathuessi needlessly barged into the back of Miller leaving referee Stuart Dougal no alternative but to award a penalty kick. The Dons leading scorer delightfully slamming home the resultant kick.

The visitors chances of getting something from the match were not helped on 72 minutes when Thierry Gathuessi was yellow carded for dissent. Despite warnings from other players around him he talked himself into a very stupid red card as he continued to back-chat to the referee.

Hibs completely lost their discipline when substitute Nish who had only been on the field for eight minutes became their second player to be sent off again for dissent with two quick bookings.

Aberdeen looked to have scored a decisive third goal on 86 minutes when Stuart Duff picked out Mackie with a neat through ball, he turned intelligently away from Jones but was thwarted by keeper Adrew McNeil, who had raced from his line blocking his left-foot effort.

In the final minute Miller's fierce 25-yard effort from a Mackie lay-off crashed off the top of the crossbar and over.