Aberdeen 0-1 Hearts: McInnes cannot fault Dons' effort

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes was disappointed his team fell short of their final target for the season but could not fault his players for effort.

The Dons have clinched second place for the second year running and a third straight Europa League qualifying spot.

With Celtic having won the Premiership, the Dons were out to beat last season's points tally but defeat by Hearts ended that possibility.

"I can't be critical of the team," McInnes said.

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Interviews: McInnes and Neilson

"A lot of the same boys have been asked to go in time and time again and they have done well this year and I am pleased with their efforts.

"That was the one last thing we had to play for after cementing second and European football and the fact the title was decided a few weeks ago.

"It was important for us but we missed having a number nine to capitalise on the movement and pace going forward [against Hearts].

"A few things fizzed about and in the first half we dominated the game but in the second half not a lot happened for either team.

"It looked like two teams who had had a long campaign and the goal was a poor one that settled the game in their favour after keeping Hearts at arms' length.

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson
Robbie Neilson's Hearts left Pittodrie with all three points

"We should do better at the goal. The keeper should do better but the players should follow it in and it's unfortunate we lose the game because of that."

Abiola Dauda scored Hearts' winning goal on the rebound after goalkeeper Adam Collin had parried Alim Ozturk's free-kick.

That took the third-placed side to within seven points of the Dons in their first season back in the top flight.

Their head coach had hoped to be even closer had it not been for a run of just two wins in the last eight matches, ironically both against Aberdeen.

But like the Dons they are back in action on 30 June in Europa League qualifiers and Robbie Neilson has plenty to build on when they return.

He said: "There's no doubt it has been difficult to replicate the intensity in some games lately but there was a real spark about that tonight.

"That was a really big game against a good team and we had to be up for it which, with the backing of the fans, we managed to do.

"Now we want to finish on a high especially with the last game at home against St Johnstone, hopefully in front of a full house.

"If we can get the three points in that one then we can send them away happy for the summer and look forward to next season."

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