Aberdeen 2-0 Hearts

By Kenny CrawfordBBC Sport Scotland

Niall McGinn's brace gave Aberdeen their first win against Hearts in 10 meetings and secured Craig Brown a home win in his penultimate game as manager.

The Dons' first came when Ryan Jack and Jonny Hayes combined to leave McGinn with a simple finish.

John Sutton hit the post for Hearts but McGinn scored again after the break, beating two players and curling past visiting keeper Jamie McDonald.

Danny Wilson's shot was cleared off the line to prevent Hearts replying.

With one game left before the Scottish Premier League splits, Aberdeen remain level on points with sixth-place Kilmarnock and have a real chance of nipping into the top half just in time for incoming manager Derek McInnes to take over.

In his last Pittodrie fixture in charge of the Dons, Brown cajoled his team not only to a first win versus Hearts during his tenure, but also a first goal scored against the Tynecastle side since he took the reins in 2010.

Hearts had the game's opening chance when Jamie Walker robbed the ball from his Scotland Under-21 colleague Clark Roberston to play in Michael Ngoo, but goalkeeper Jamie Langfield was quick off his line to block with his chest.

Brown and Knox
Aberdeen's Craig Brown and Archie Knox tasted victory in their last home game in charge

Then, almost 835 minutes of football after their last goal against the Edinburgh outfit, Aberdeen eventually got that monkey off their back.

Running from deep, Jack split Hearts' defence with an excellent pass to Hayes, who waited on MacDonald to bear down before squaring for McGinn, who stroked into an empty net for his 18th of the season.

Sutton went close to a Hearts equaliser by getting his left foot on Walker's cut-back but though Langfield was beaten the post was not.

Gary Locke's men were applying most of the pressure and the busy Walker was next to draw a decent save from Langfield following Moroccan midfielder Mehdi Taouil's threaded pass.

Before the break the hosts fashioned another opening but Josh Magennis blasted his right-footed shot high into the Merkland Stand.

The Dons have relied heavily on McGinn's goals this season and he added to his personal tally 10 minutes after the break.

Dribbling past Taouil and McGowan on the left, the Northern Irishman entered the box and curled a side-footer past MacDonald into the far corner.

And in search of a hat-trick, McGinn smashed in an effort that was blocked and then went down in the box under a challenge from Wilson. However, referee Willie Collum booked the forward for simulation.

Hearts did not give up and Wilson's goal-bound shot was cleared off the line by Hayes before Locke brought on Jamie Hamill for his first appearance in almost a year following a serious knee injury.

Magennis bore down on Andy Webster's mistake to run clear but failed to make Hearts pay by shooting straight at MacDonald.

Hamill was on hand to deny Aberdeen's McGinn again late on, and Langfield did likewise to Ngoo to maintain his clean-sheet.

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