Scottish Premiership
Aberdeen2Hearts0

Aberdeen 2-0 Heart of Midlothian

Aberdeen consolidated second place in the Scottish Premiership with victory over Hearts.

Shay Logan headed in Niall McGinn's cross to put the Dons ahead before the break.

Jonny Hayes latched on to Anastasios Avlonitis' short pass-back and rounded goalkeeper Jack Hamilton to score the hosts' second.

The home side finished with 10 men, substitute Jayden Stockley sent off for lashing out at Krystian Nowak.

The result means leaders Celtic cannot secure the title on Sunday by beating Dundee at Dens Park but two more wins will confirm Brendan Rodgers' side as champions.

Aberdeen's ninth home win in a row - equalling a club record - kept Derek McInnes' men eight points clear of Rangers, who beat Hamilton Academical later on Saturday.

Jayden Stockley is sent off
Stockley's dismissal was the one blight on Aberdeen's victory

The opening very much reflected the playing surface - patchy and lacking in any real quality. Both sides struggled to find any real rhythm as pass after pass failed to find its intended target and players fought individual battles all across the muddy grass.

Aberdeen's fabulous home form has afforded them some patience from their fans, though, and the men in red rarely looked troubled despite their early possession failing to produce much in the way of chances.

And it was the visitors who had the best of the early action in front of goal, Sam Nicholson passing up a gilt-edged chance to give his side the lead. His composure deserted him and he perhaps had too much time to think as he leaned back and fired high over the bar from 14 yards out.

However, that was very much against the run of play and Aberdeen started to completely dominate the midfield as Hearts looked happy to go long in a bid to bypass the poor pitch.

Logan's run

Logan has been one of Aberdeen's most consistent performers and was well placed to get the opener.

McGinn, as he has been so often this season, was the provider. His delicately chipped cross from the left eluded the away defence and Logan powered in at the back post to head home.

His celebration, that included a fist-pumping tour of all four stands, suggests he was pretty chuffed with himself and he had every right to milk it.

Shay Logan scores
Right-back Logan scored his fourth goal this season

Greek tragedy

Ian Cathro's January signings for Hearts have been lauded at times but there are occasions where eyebrows are rightly raised and for Aberdeen's second it was Greek defender Avlonitis who was under the spotlight.

He tried a simple pass-back to Hamilton but horribly mis-hit the ball and Hayes was quick to nip in and slot home after knocking the ball around the outrushing Hearts number one.

It was a horrible individual mistake but one that really summed up Hearts' performance as a whole.

The Dons could smell blood after that and Hayes and Kenny McLean both had good pot-shots from distance that forced good saves.

Stockley sees red

As the clocked ticked down and both sets of players looked happy to play the game out, there was a bit of drama when Adam Rooney's replacement Stockley was dismissed.

Referee Steven McLean flashed red after Stockley appeared to catch Nowak with an arm but as the Englishman trudged off, a number of players were involved in a scuffle.

As players squared up, the officials rushed on but, in truth, it was the most fight Hearts had shown all afternoon.

Post-match reaction

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes: "I think it's great, as a manager, when you see a team so relentless with their work. We spoke before the game about those middle two thirds, being aggressive, making the game go our way and pressing the life out of them, and I don't think Hearts could cope with that.

"I thought it was a very impressive performance from us - on a difficult surface we still had enough moments of quality.

"In terms of what the players give me and the club, they cannot give any more - they've been absolutely fantastic. We've got quality players, players that can change the game in a heartbeat, but their work-rate and honesty in everything they do is there in spades, and that is reflected in the fact we don't lose too many goals.

"I haven't seen the sending off again, but from what I'm told it's a foul initially on Jayden, it slows him down, he can't put pressure on the defender, he turns round and I think he's caught the palm of his hand on the boy's face.

"I think it's just frustration that he's been fouled, but we'll look at it again and see if there's enough justification for an appeal. The focus for us really is just the pleasure of all three points."

Hearts head coach Ian Cathro: "It's a situation where Aberdeen have shown they're in a position where they're stronger, more routined, and managed to take the victory.

"There were some positive parts to our play, we had some opportunities, and it comes down to clinical finishing, sometimes clinical defending, the ruthlessness, the quickness in dealing with things, and we suffered from that today."

Line-ups

Aberdeen

  • 1Lewis
  • 2Logan
  • 5Taylor
  • 15O'Connor
  • 4Considine
  • 22Jack
  • 3ShinnieBooked at 90mins
  • 10McGinnSubstituted forRossat 88'minutes
  • 7McLean
  • 11HayesSubstituted forChristieat 83'minutes
  • 9RooneySubstituted forStockleyat 76'minutesBooked at 89mins

Substitutes

  • 8Christie
  • 16Pawlett
  • 17Stockley
  • 25Alexander
  • 26Wright
  • 27Ross
  • 39Storey

Hearts

  • 1Hamilton
  • 27Struna
  • 19Nowak
  • 12Avlonitis
  • 46Sowah
  • 15Cowie
  • 4TziolisBooked at 13minsSubstituted forKitchenat 74'minutes
  • 11Nicholson
  • 10Sutchuin-DjoumSubstituted forJohnsenat 65'minutes
  • 7WalkerBooked at 78minsSubstituted forMartinat 87'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 77Esmael Gonçalves

Substitutes

  • 3Rherras
  • 5Hughes
  • 6Kitchen
  • 13Noring
  • 16El Ouriachi
  • 20Johnsen
  • 88Martin
Referee:
Steven McLean
Attendance:
12,178

Match Stats

Home TeamAberdeenAway TeamHearts
Possession
Home53%
Away47%
Shots
Home17
Away5
Shots on Target
Home6
Away3
Corners
Home6
Away3
Fouls
Home11
Away16

Live Text

Match ends, Aberdeen 2, Heart of Midlothian 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Aberdeen 2, Heart of Midlothian 0.

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

Foul by Andraz Struna (Heart of Midlothian).

Attempt saved. Sam Nicholson (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

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

Foul by Ryan Christie (Aberdeen).

Booking

Malaury Martin (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card.

Andrew Considine (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Bjorn Johnsen (Heart of Midlothian).

Booking

Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card.

Dismissal

Jayden Stockley (Aberdeen) is shown the red card.

Foul by Jayden Stockley (Aberdeen).

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

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. Frank Ross replaces Niall McGinn.

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Malaury Martin replaces Jamie Walker.

Foul by Niall McGinn (Aberdeen).

Krystian Nowak (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt missed. Kenny McLean (Aberdeen) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left.

Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Andraz Struna (Heart of Midlothian).

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. Ryan Christie replaces Jonny Hayes.

Attempt missed. Ash Taylor (Aberdeen) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

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

Foul by Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian).

Attempt missed. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Attempt blocked. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Booking

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

Kenny McLean (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian).

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Jack Hamilton.

Ash Taylor (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Bjorn Johnsen (Heart of Midlothian).

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. Jayden Stockley replaces Adam Rooney.

Attempt missed. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Perry Kitchen replaces Alexandros Tziolis.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Joe Lewis.

Attempt saved. Lennard Sowah (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top left corner.

Attempt missed. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.

Adam Rooney (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic28262074175780
2Aberdeen29184753242958
3Rangers2914874233950
4St Johnstone29127103937243
5Hearts291181050371341
6Partick Thistle29810113134-334
7Kilmarnock29711112845-1732
8Dundee2886143139-830
9Ross County29610133148-1728
10Motherwell2976163357-2427
11Inverness CT29412133353-2024
12Hamilton29412132647-2124
View full Scottish Premiership table

Top Stories