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Aberdeen 0 Hibernian 0: Williams' sticky fingers help visitors nick a point

the presence of Leigh Griffiths was not enough to help Hibernian pilfer three points from Pittodrie.

Ben Williams saves a penalty from Niall McGinn, later hinting he knew which way to dive
Ben Williams saves a penalty from Niall McGinn, later hinting he knew which way to dive

That seemed pertinent since it emerged just hours before kick-off that the striker had been charged with shoplifting from a supermarket, with Pat Fenlon then faced with a decision over whether or not to name him in the side to face Aberdeen.

It is not the first time that the on-loan Wolverhampton Wanderers striker has courted controversy, so Fenlon would have been entitled to answer questions about his involvement with a sigh of exasperation. Instead, the Hibs manager was insistent that he had no concern about pitching in Griffiths.

"I wanted Leigh to play and he did okay, even though he didn't get much service," said Fenlon, whose decision was likely informed by the fact Hibs have won just once in their last eight matches. "You always think about decisions and what impact they'll have on the game and it was no different with this one."

Griffiths drifted from focus in Pittodrie as his side failed to provide the striker with the sort of service which has brought him 15 goals this season.

When Tim Clancy fouled Jonny Hayes as the Aberdeen winger skipped into the box the attention fell on another player in a Hibs shirt – goalkeeper Ben Williams saving a penalty after 10 minutes of a match largely controlled by the home side.

That the goalkeeper had been faced with the task of thwarting Niall McGinn from the spot – a striker who has also scored 15 times this term – might have been disconcerting, but Williams later explained he had done "his homework on players" and was confident he could guess which direction McGinn would aim his spot kick.

Similarly, Williams showed reasoned judgment on the controversy over Griffiths, and dismissed any suggestion that the striker is a disruptive influence at the club.

"I don't know much about what's gone on but there are times when he's been a little bit unfortunate, a little bit naive with the situations he gets himself into," the Englishman said.

"James McPake [the Hibs captain] speaks to him, as does the manager. He's not a vindictive or a bad person. We see him day to day and there's not a bad bone in his body but whatever it is that gets him into trouble, he needs to address it. He's got everything you need to be a top footballer."

Another player who will likely be taken aside by his manager this week is Peter Pawlett, the Aberdeen winger back in the team after five months on loan at St Johnstone. He went down in the box after forcing his way past Clancy but Craig Thomson, the referee, simply booked him for simulation, a decision which concerned Craig Brown. The Aberdeen manager will consider reprimanding his player once he has reviewed footage of the incident.

"I will decide what action to take when I've seen the pictures," Brown said. "If he did dive I will be having a word with him, but Peter is not that type of player and I'm pleased to have him back with us as he will prove an asset."

Brown was left without Russell Anderson, who was injured during training, but expect the defender to be available for the game against St Johnstone on Wednesday night. However, it was the forward area of his side that irked the Aberdeen manager most yesterday.

"We have to be more clinical in front of goal," said Brown. "But there was certainly quality in the play of their centre-backs, James McPake and Paul Hanlon."

Fenlon – who has signed Scott Robertson, the former Dundee United midfielder, from Blackpool on a two-and-a-half-year contract – agreed with Brown's praise of his centre-backs, adding: "When you're under the cosh like that you're thinking it's a matter of time. We need to start better than we have been."

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