Scottish Premiership
Hearts2Aberdeen1

Heart of Midlothian 2-1 Aberdeen

Hearts inflicted terrible, and probably fatal, damage on Aberdeen's title challenge, coming from behind to win a tumultuous game at a packed Tynecastle.

Simon Church scored early for Aberdeen, but Juanma cancelled it out before the break and then scored again early in the second half.

For a team apparently beset by a virus less than a week ago, Hearts were big and strong and deserving of their win.

They closed the gap on second-placed Aberdeen to nine points.

Their triumph gave Celtic the opportunity to extend their lead at the top to eight points - title-winning territory, surely - when they play Motherwell on Saturday.

Dons off to a flying start

For all of that, Aberdeen got off to the kind of start that manager Derek McInnes would have dreamed about, Church scoring after just four minutes.

Graeme Shinnie who caused the original panic in the Hearts defence, attacking John Souttar, an uncomfortable right-back early on, before whipping in a cross that Welshman Church put away with aplomb.

In Adam Rooney's continuing absence through injury, Church has been a terrific stand-in, a January signing who has now scored six goals.

The Dons bombarded their hosts for the next 10 minutes. They unleashed incessant fire on the Hearts defence and created chances for Niall McGinn, Shay Logan and Craig Storie - all of them coming and going without that precious second goal arriving.

And how they would rue those missed chances. Midway through the half, Hearts started to motor. Physically beaten in the opening minutes, they now started winning the one-on-one battles, imposing themselves on Aberdeen and hassling them into nervy error upon nervy error.

Aberdeen were jumpy at the back. Blazej Augustyn had a header pawed away by Scott Brown and, later, Ash Taylor had to be alert to deny Juanma, then Brown had to tip over a free kick from Alim Ozturk.

Juanma scores
Juanma's second goal came after a fine run and delivery from Jamie Walker

The equaliser came soon enough, Ozturk given the space to fire a shot on goal from distance which Brown could only beat into Juanma's path. No Aberdeen player went with the striker and he scored with ease.

Hearts take charge

The visitors were under the cosh and their evening got worse again when Ryan Jack, their captain, was carried off on a stretcher off before the break.

Tynecastle, bursting at the seams again, sensed a big night for their team and, sure enough, Hearts came out of the blocks quickly in the second half.

Prince Buaben was denied by scrambling Aberdeen defending, then Igor Rossi slapped a shot off Brown's left-hand post, both of those moments a mere prelude to Jamie Walker's excellence in creating Hearts', and Juanma's second.

Walker's work in delivering a gorgeous cross for his striker - and his game in general - was outstanding. Juanma's finish was too much for Brown, but much of the credit for it has to go to Walker for his determination and class.

The frenetic nature of the game hardly relented. Walker could have made it three at one end and McGinn could have levelled it at the other. Aberdeen piled forward in the closing minutes but they could not break their opponents.

For Hearts, it was an important win after two recent losses. For Aberdeen, a catastrophe, purely and simply.

Line-ups

Hearts

  • 1Alexander
  • 24Souttar
  • 5Ozturk
  • 4Augustyn
  • 18RossiBooked at 59mins
  • 8BuabenSubstituted forPallardo Gonzalezat 80'minutes
  • 23KitchenBooked at 53mins
  • 7WalkerSubstituted forMcGheeat 84'minutes
  • 16Sutchuin-Djoum
  • 11Nicholson
  • 19Delgado LloriaBooked at 78minsSubstituted forZanattaat 90+1'minutes

Substitutes

  • 13Hamilton
  • 14Pallardo Gonzalez
  • 20Reilly
  • 22McGhee
  • 25Dauda
  • 28Smith
  • 44Zanatta

Aberdeen

  • 20Brown
  • 2LoganBooked at 79mins
  • 5TaylorSubstituted forConsidineat 81'minutes
  • 6Reynolds
  • 3ShinnieBooked at 12mins
  • 22JackSubstituted forFloodat 44'minutes
  • 23StorieSubstituted forSmithat 77'minutes
  • 11Hayes
  • 7McLeanBooked at 46mins
  • 10McGinn
  • 18Church

Substitutes

  • 4Considine
  • 8Flood
  • 14Smith
  • 19Collin
  • 26McKenna
  • 31Ross
  • 37McLennan
Referee:
Steven McLean
Attendance:
16,995

Match Stats

Home TeamHeartsAway TeamAberdeen
Possession
Home47%
Away53%
Shots
Home15
Away10
Shots on Target
Home8
Away3
Corners
Home3
Away3
Fouls
Home14
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Heart of Midlothian 2, Aberdeen 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Heart of Midlothian 2, Aberdeen 1.

Hand ball by Andrew Considine (Aberdeen).

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Dario Zanatta replaces Juanma.

Shaleum Logan (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Arnaud Djoum (Heart of Midlothian).

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Jordan McGhee replaces Jamie Walker.

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. Andrew Considine replaces Ash Taylor because of an injury.

Shaleum Logan (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Juanma (Heart of Midlothian).

Willo Flood (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Arnaud Djoum (Heart of Midlothian).

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Miguel Pallardó replaces Prince Buaben because of an injury.

Booking

Shaleum Logan (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Shaleum Logan (Aberdeen).

Juanma (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Booking

Juanma (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Kenny McLean (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Juanma (Heart of Midlothian).

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. Cameron Smith replaces Craig Storie.

Foul by Craig Storie (Aberdeen).

Arnaud Djoum (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Willo Flood (Aberdeen).

Perry Kitchen (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian).

Attempt missed. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.

Attempt saved. Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt saved. Arnaud Djoum (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Foul by Willo Flood (Aberdeen).

Arnaud Djoum (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Craig Storie (Aberdeen).

Arnaud Djoum (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Prince Buaben (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left.

Hand ball by Juanma (Heart of Midlothian).

Goal!

Goal! Heart of Midlothian 2, Aberdeen 1. Juanma (Heart of Midlothian) header from very close range to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Jamie Walker with a cross.

Attempt missed. Kenny McLean (Aberdeen) left footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

Booking

Igor Rossi (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Igor Rossi (Heart of Midlothian).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic32227376245273
2Aberdeen33215756362068
3Hearts32178754332159
4Motherwell32135144047-744
5St Johnstone32127134848043
6Dundee3291494747041
7Partick Thistle32118133238-641
8Ross County32124164755-840
9Inverness CT3199133843-536
10Hamilton3289153454-2033
11Kilmarnock3278173054-2429
12Dundee Utd3266203356-2324
View full Scottish Premiership table

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