Match ends, Aberdeen 0, Heart of Midlothian 1.
Aberdeen 0-1 Heart of Midlothian
Abiola Dauda's fifth goal of the season was enough to give Hearts victory and send Aberdeen crashing to only a second home defeat of the campaign.
The Nigerian took advantage of a blunder by Dons keeper Adam Collin to give Robbie Neilson's side a third win this year against Derek McInnes' team.
Collin spilled Alim Ozturk's free-kick on a night when there were precious few clear-cut chances for either team.
The setback means Aberdeen cannot match last season's points tally of 75.
Amazingly both these teams will be in action in just seven weeks' time when the Europa League qualifiers get underway, nearly a fortnight before the European Championship final in France.
In the early exchanges it seemed like the Hearts players' minds were already on their short summer break with a real lethargy about their play.
There were no such problems for Aberdeen as they played with pace and an aggression McInnes felt they lacked when losing at Tynecastle in the Scottish Cup and Premiership earlier this year.
Niall McGinn and Jonny Hayes stretched the visitors in wide areas but the Dons struggled to capitalise with midfielder Kenny McLean forced to play up front while Adam Rooney and Simon Church sat out injured.
The Dons hogged the majority of possession and flashed a few inviting balls across the face of the penalty area but failed to create much in the way of clear scoring chances.
McGinn did try his best with a free-kick from a central position but it dipped too late to test Hearts' young goalkeeper Jack Hamilton.
It actually took Robbie Neilson's side fully 34 minutes to pose the first problem for the Dons defence when they finally strung some passes together in an attacking area.
The ball eventually broke back to Prince Buaben, who bent a 25-yard drive towards the left-hand post and Collin was forced into a full-length dive to push the effort to safety.
But the goalkeeper was badly at fault when he allowed Ozturk's free-kick to squirm into Dauda's path for the only goal of the game.
And Aberdeen - runners-up in the Premiership for a second year running - could not recover against third-placed Hearts.
- 22JackBooked at 63mins
- 8FloodSubstituted forNuttallat 81'minutes
- 26McKennaSubstituted forSmithat 71'minutes
- 17OshaniwaBooked at 24mins
- 25DaudaSubstituted forReillyat 79'minutes
- 44ZanattaSubstituted forNicholsonat 68'minutes
- 19Delgado LloriaSubstituted forMcGheeat 90'minutes
- 14Pallardo Gonzalez
- Andrew Dallas
- Shots on Target
Attempt saved. Alim Ozturk (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Second Half ends, Aberdeen 0, Heart of Midlothian 1.
Foul by Andrew Considine (Aberdeen).
Gavin Reilly (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Jordan McGhee replaces Juanma.
Attempt blocked. Kenny McLean (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Foul by Ryan Jack (Aberdeen).
John Souttar (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Juwon Oshaniwa.
Attempt blocked. Andrew Considine (Aberdeen) header from the centre of the box is blocked.
Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Callum Paterson.
Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Callum Paterson (Heart of Midlothian).
Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Prince Buaben (Heart of Midlothian).
Substitution, Aberdeen. Joe Nuttall replaces Willo Flood.
Attempt missed. Callum Paterson (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.
Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Gavin Reilly replaces Abiola Dauda.
Kenny McLean (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the right wing.