The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)
Young Dons are left with Hampden Park heartache
Youth Cup final: Hibs hit back after McLennan gives Aberdeen first-half lead
ABERDEEN U20s HIBERNIAN U20s BY JAMIE DURENT 1 3
Two goals in the last 20 minutes denied Aberdeen Scottish Youth Cup glory at Hampden Park last night as Hibernian ran out 3-1 victors.
Ryan Porteous and Jamie Gullan scored within seven minutes of each other to drag them clear of a spirited young Dons side.
Connor McLennan gave Aberdeen the lead in the first half with a wonderful virtuoso goal but Joseph MacPherson turned into his own net before the break.
With the game finely poised, Porteous powered home a header and Gullan slotted in from close-range to hand Hibs the trophy.
The Dons handed starts to midfielder Frank Ross, who has been on loan at Championship side Morton, in the middle of the park alongside Dean Campbell, with brothers Ethan and Seb Ross also playing.
The Hibernian starting line-up included Ryan Porteous and Oli Shaw who have featured regularly for the first team this season.
Hibernian won the recent Development League encounter between the two sides 2-0 and started brighter, with Callum Donaldson missing a glorious chance after just six minutes as he met a cross by his fellow wing-back Sean Mackie at the back post but missed the target.
Two minutes after Bruce Anderson had his shot repelled by Maciej Dabrowski, McLennan delivered a superb opener. He brought down Sam Roscoe’s long ball on his right foot, glided past Mackie and skipped inside two more green shirts before poking the ball beyond the Hibs goalkeeper. It stung the Edinburgh club into a response and Fraser Murray tried to produce his own bit of magic, sending a swerving shot towards goal from 20 yards but seeing it smack off the crossbar.
Murray did play his part in a goal before the half was out, though, with his teasing right-wing cross turned into his own net by MacPherson as he sought to keep out Shaw.
Ethan Ross was energetic and purposeful, cutting inside regularly from the left and showing a willingness to drive into threatening areas.
McLennan’s strength and close-control made him problematic for Mackie to deal with.
Anderson saw a great opportunity snuffed out on the hour when he swivelled and struck Ethan Ross’ centre, only for Porteous to lunge in and block before the ball reached Dabrowski.
Hibernian captain Porteous stepped up to the plate when the Edinburgh side needed him, steaming on to Ben Stirling’s cross and heading beyond Craddock with 17 minutes to go.
The trophy was sealed for Grant Murray’s side with 10 minutes to go as Shaw’s shot was deflected by Roscoe into the path of Gullan, who made no mistake from close range.