Scottish Premiership
AberdeenAberdeen2HeartsHeart of Midlothian0

Aberdeen 2-0 Heart of Midlothian: Sam Cosgrove double as Dons move second

By Andrew SouthwickBBC Scotland

Sam Cosgrove scored his sixth goal in four games for Aberdeen as struggling Hearts suffered yet another Scottish Premiership defeat at Pittodrie.

Cosgrove's double made it four goals in a week for the striker and moved Aberdeen up to second in the division, having been seventh just 11 days ago.

Hearts finished the game with 10 men after Demetri Mitchell received a second yellow card late on.

They have now lost six of their last nine Premiership matches.

For Aberdeen, they keep up the pressure on leaders Celtic ahead of the Boxing Day fixture at home against Brendan Rodgers' side.

Revitalised strikeforce

To say that Cosgrove has had a difficult time winning over the Aberdeen fans would be an understatement. Sent off minutes into his debut, it took him 17 games just to score his first goal for the club.

However, he and Stevie May - another who has struggled to impress until recently - are both enjoying a purple patch, with five goals between them in Aberdeen's previous three games.

McInnes elected to stick with a winning combination for the third game in a row, and within two minutes the pair had combined for the opener.

A poor header from Olly Lee was pounced on by May, and Cosgrove rose highest to nod the floated cross beyond the reach of debutant goalkeeper Colin Doyle.

And Cosgrove added a second in the second half from the penalty spot after Scott McKenna was bundled over by Christophe Berra.

Aberdeen were buoyant, dominating the first half with Niall McGinn and Max Lowe both threatening, while Shay Logan's cross dipped into the net only for referee John Beaton to penalise Lewis Ferguson for fouling the goalkeeper.

Hearts - who have now failed to score in their last five visits to Pittodrie - took their time to get going, but two free-kicks almost pulled them level before half-time.

A well-worked move bamboozled the Aberdeen backline and Steven MacLean should have equalised, but fired straight at Joe Lewis. Another effort fizzed past the post shortly after.

And as the game wore on, Hearts started to knock the ball about with a confidence that belied their recent struggles, but they could not make their good work count in the final third.

Hearts' frustration was apparent. At 1-0 they felt they should have had two penalties when Haring and Steven Naismith both hit the deck in separate incidents, then Mitchell was red carded after a lunge on teenager Dean Campbell.

With nine wins in their last 12 games, Aberdeen are in form and ahead of a potential Christmas cracker against champions Celtic.

Sam Cosgrove's second goal was his sixth in four games
Sam Cosgrove's second goal was his sixth in four games

'Aberdeen can challenge' - analysis

BBC Scotland's Tyrone Smith at Pittodrie

Aberdeen's resurgence continues - that's four wins in a row - and they showed all the qualities of a team with the credentials to be title challengers.

In Cosgrove, they have a genuine goal threat. In Graeme Shinnie and McKenna they have got a real gritty, granite spine. And in Lewis, they have a top-class goalkeeper. Add to that the sprinkling of talented young players that are currently peppering the team, and they appear to have the component parts to suggest they will be there or thereabouts when the prizes are handed out in May.

As for Hearts, another bad day at the office, and now just one win in nine league games. They will need to turn things round soon, otherwise a season that looked like promising so much might end up delivering very little.

'It was a good day's work' - reaction

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes: "It was a good day's work and a great effort from the players. It sets up nicely for the game with Celtic on Boxing Day.

"We have had three very tight matches against them in the last three games so hopefully we can find a way and lot of things can go our way to try to make sure we have a winning outcome this time."

Hearts manager Craig Levein: "It's frustrating. I was much happier with the team's performance than I was the previous week. I do honestly think there was nothing in the game.

"I think we should have had two penalties. [Peter] Haring has a free header at goal, and Steven Naismith is hauled to the ground 10 yards from the referee. I spoke to the referee and he says he hasn't seen it."

Line-ups

Aberdeen

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Lewis
  • 2LoganBooked at 63mins
  • 4Considine
  • 5McKenna
  • 29LoweSubstituted forCampbellat 49'minutes
  • 19Ferguson
  • 3Shinnie
  • 27McLennanSubstituted forWrightat 87'minutes
  • 17MaySubstituted forGleesonat 60'minutesBooked at 71mins
  • 10McGinn
  • 16Cosgrove

Substitutes

  • 7Forrester
  • 8Gleeson
  • 9Wilson
  • 15Wright
  • 20Cerny
  • 24Campbell
  • 25Anderson

Hearts

Formation 3-5-2

  • 13Doyle
  • 2Smith
  • 5HaringBooked at 66mins
  • 6Berra
  • 26GodinhoSubstituted forBrandonat 87'minutes
  • 8Lee
  • 9ClareSubstituted forMorrisonat 84'minutes
  • 7Bozanic
  • 11MitchellBooked at 86mins
  • 18MacLean
  • 14NaismithBooked at 71minsSubstituted forMcDonaldat 78'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Zlamal
  • 16Hughes
  • 21McDonald
  • 23Mulraney
  • 25Brandon
  • 38Morrison
  • 45Smith
Referee:
John Beaton
Attendance:
16,451

Match Stats

Home TeamAberdeenAway TeamHearts
Possession
Home53%
Away47%
Shots
Home11
Away4
Shots on Target
Home3
Away1
Corners
Home5
Away0
Fouls
Home18
Away15

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Aberdeen 2, Heart of Midlothian 0.

  2. Full Time

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

  3. Post update

    Foul by Sam Cosgrove (Aberdeen).

  4. Post update

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

  5. Post update

    Foul by Sam Cosgrove (Aberdeen).

  6. Post update

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

  7. Post update

    Attempt missed. Stephen Gleeson (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen).

  9. Post update

    Peter Haring (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Jamie Brandon replaces Marcus Godinho.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Aberdeen. Scott Wright replaces Connor McLennan.

  12. Post update

    Dean Campbell (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  13. Dismissal

    Second yellow card to Demetri Mitchell (Heart of Midlothian) for a bad foul.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Demetri Mitchell (Heart of Midlothian).

  15. Post update

    Foul by Niall McGinn (Aberdeen).

  16. Post update

    Callumn Morrison (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Callumn Morrison replaces Sean Clare.

  18. Post update

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

  19. Post update

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

  20. Post update

    Foul by Demetri Mitchell (Heart of Midlothian).

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic18123342103239
2Aberdeen19113529191036
3Rangers18105339142535
4Kilmarnock19105429191035
5Hearts199372326-330
6Livingston198562517829
7Hibernian197752920928
8St Johnstone178452122-128
9Motherwell1953111831-1318
10Hamilton1942131339-2614
11St Mirren1933131436-2212
12Dundee1923141544-299
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