Scottish Premiership
Hearts1Aberdeen1

Hearts 1-1 Aberdeen: Daniel Stendel's side go into winter break bottom

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Highlights: Heart of Midlothian 1-1 Aberdeen

Hearts go into the winter break further adrift in the Scottish Premiership despite surviving a red card to win their first point under Daniel Stendel.

The German looked to be heading for a first victory in five games in charge when Ryotaro Meshino curled in a superb opener four minutes after the break.

But Sean Clare was sent off after hauling back Jon Gallagher and Niall McGinn equalised with the free-kick.

Hearts had been the better side up to that moment of hesitancy in defence.

However, with Hamilton Academical beating Motherwell, Stendel finds his side now five points behind the Lanarkshire side and six away from St Mirren, who edged out Kilmarnock.

Aberdeen, meanwhile, miss a chance to leapfrog Motherwell into third, have now not won in four trips away from Pittodrie, while on-loan Bristol City defender Zak Vyner could miss the rest of the season after the recurrence of a shoulder injury.

No win but green shoots of recovery

Stendel has already shown he is prepared to make some tough decisions as he attempts to rescue Hearts from the spectre of relegation.

Glenn Whelan was axed from the squad for the Boxing Day derby defeat by Hibernian, with the manager later saying the Republic of Ireland midfielder does not have the necessary leadership qualities.

This time, countrymen Aidy White and Jake Mulraney went from a Thursday start to being out the squad, while captain Christophe Berra and Loic Damour found themselves on the bench.

With youngsters Andy Irving and Euan Henderson given rare starts in midfield, the new formation started full of the nerves you might expect given their lowly position and Aberdeen's shiny gold change jerseys shone brighter in the winter sunshine at Tynecastle in the early stages.

However, Meshino dragged them into the game, shooting on sight of the Aberdeen goal and having his best effort cleared off the line by the retreating Scott McKenna.

Craig Halkett and Oliver Bozanic were both denied by fine saves from Joe Lewis before the goalkeeper was finally beaten by the on-loan Manchester City winger's superb curling drive from 25 yards.

Lewis also saved from Irving, but just as Hearts looked like extending their lead, they were caught out by a quickly taken free-kick, Clare was dismissed for a tug on Gallagher and the blow was deepened by McGinn's dipping free-kick in off a post.

It is the kind of blow that has led to Hearts crumbling this season, but this time they dug deep and the 10 men had their fair share of chances as play raged from end to end in a thrilling finish.

The rousing reception Hearts, reeling from the worst start for any managerial reign at Tynecastle in post-war times, received at the final whistle suggests the home faithful saw green shoots of recovery.

However, despite ending a run of five defeats in a row and first goal in four home outings, the statistics remain damning - no wins in eight games, none at home in five and with more points to make up if they are to stay in the top flight.

Graphic

Man of the match - Andy Irving

BBC Scotland's Brian McLauchlin at Tynecastle Park

Although they failed to secure the victory their performance deserved, the Hearts players can look back on this performance with some pride.

Clevid Dikimona put in a sterling performance at the back, while Michael Smith and Meshino played their part in proceedings.

However, Andy Irving was the dominant figure for the home side and, on this performance, it looks as if he can play a major part for the Tynecastle club in the New Year in the battle to avoid the drop.

'We can climb the table' - reaction

Hearts manager Daniel Stendel: "We can be disappointed because, until the red card, we were defending well, we dominated the game and had some good chances to score before we scored.

"I need a bit of time to see which players can play the way I want and I hope we can start with some new players, but I'm really sure we can climb the table if we play more games like this."

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes: "We're already without Greg Leigh for two months, Craig Bryson goes in for his operation in the next couple of days and, if Zak Vyner needs surgery.

"We can do smart work in January and bring two or three additions in."

Line-ups

Hearts

  • 23Castro Pereira
  • 8ClareBooked at 68mins
  • 28DikamonaBooked at 89mins
  • 26Halkett
  • 51Hickey
  • 2Smith
  • 40Irving
  • 41Henderson
  • 7BozanicSubstituted forGaruccioat 84'minutes
  • 77MeshinoBooked at 30minsSubstituted forWashingtonat 76'minutes
  • 19IkpeazuSubstituted forDamourat 70'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Zlamal
  • 6Berra
  • 9Washington
  • 15Wighton
  • 17Garuccio
  • 18MacLean
  • 22Damour

Aberdeen

  • 1Lewis
  • 2Logan
  • 14TaylorBooked at 65mins
  • 5McKenna
  • 33VynerSubstituted forMcGinnat 45+1'minutes
  • 22OjoBooked at 55minsSubstituted forHedgesat 84'minutes
  • 19FergusonBooked at 31mins
  • 24Campbell
  • 25Anderson
  • 21Gallagher
  • 9MainSubstituted forWilsonat 55'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Devlin
  • 10McGinn
  • 11Hedges
  • 18McLennan
  • 20Cerny
  • 28Wilson
  • 32MacKenzie
Referee:
Alan Muir
Attendance:
17,788

Match Stats

Home TeamHeartsAway TeamAberdeen
Possession
Home52%
Away48%
Shots
Home11
Away7
Shots on Target
Home5
Away2
Corners
Home6
Away5
Fouls
Home17
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Heart of Midlothian 1, Aberdeen 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Heart of Midlothian 1, Aberdeen 1.

Booking

Clévid Dikamona (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Hand ball by Clévid Dikamona (Heart of Midlothian).

Euan Henderson (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen).

Clévid Dikamona (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Bruce Anderson (Aberdeen).

Conor Washington (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Ash Taylor (Aberdeen).

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. Ryan Hedges replaces Funso Ojo.

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Ben Garuccio replaces Oliver Bozanic.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Aaron Hickey.

Attempt missed. Andrew Irving (Heart of Midlothian) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

Foul by Loïc Damour (Heart of Midlothian).

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

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

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Conor Washington replaces Ryotaro Meshino.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Joel Pereira.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Michael Smith.

Andrew Irving (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Bruce Anderson (Aberdeen).

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Loïc Damour replaces Uche Ikpeazu.

Foul by Craig Halkett (Heart of Midlothian).

Bruce Anderson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt saved. Ryotaro Meshino (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Goal!

Goal! Heart of Midlothian 1, Aberdeen 1. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the top left corner.

Dismissal

Sean Clare (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the red card.

Foul by Sean Clare (Heart of Midlothian).

Jon Gallagher (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Craig Halkett (Heart of Midlothian).

Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Ash Taylor (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Euan Henderson (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ash Taylor (Aberdeen).

Aaron Hickey (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Bruce Anderson (Aberdeen).

Foul by Michael Smith (Heart of Midlothian).

Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic20171255134252
2Rangers19162153114250
3Motherwell2112183327637
4Aberdeen2110653026436
5Livingston216783029125
6Hibernian216782936-725
7Kilmarnock2165101724-723
8Ross County205692242-2021
9St Johnstone194871634-1820
10St Mirren2154121729-1219
11Hamilton2146112034-1418
12Hearts2127121835-1713
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