Hearts 2, Aberdeen 0: December 8, 2012
Hearts continued an impressive run against Aberdeen which had seen the visitors failing to score against the Gorgie side since 2010, as they recorded a routine 2-0 win over the Dons.
Ryan Stevenson had given the home side a first-half lead from the penalty spot after Aberdeen’s Josh Magennis had brought down Ryan McGowan, before Callum Paterson, on as a substitute for Stevenson, doubled Hearts’ lead in the second half.
Manager John McGlynn brought in striker John Sutton for this SPL encounter, with the forward having rarely featured under his boss and he was a danger up front – causing all sorts of problems for the visitors’ defence.
Aberdeen looked the livelier side during the opening 20 minutes as they pegged the Jambos back, with Jonny Hayes given an opportunity for the opener but fizzed his effort over the bar from 20 yards.
However, as an open first half progressed the home side – who were playing at a high tempo – pressed forward, and Russell Anderson had to deflect a McGowan cross past his own post.
From the resultant corner goalkeeper Jamie Langfield spilled and was lucky referee Euan Norris spotted an infringement to spare his blushes.
Both sets of full-backs were pressing forward at every opportunity as the game roared from end to end, but the final ball into the box was failing to find a forward.
However, from an Andrew Driver corner, the Gorgie side could have taken the lead when McGowan leapt forward to steer a header wide of Jamie Langfield’s right post on 24 minutes.
The Aussie then made amends for the miss six minutes later as he was brought down by Magennis on the left side of the box, with referee Norris immediately pointing to the spot.
Stevenson duly grabbed his first goal of the season as he rifled the penalty into the top left corner.
The goalscorer then picked up a head injury towards the end of the half, forcing McGlynn into making a half time change as Paterson was brought on to replace him.
The youngster looked lively from the off and sent a half volley over the bar from close range on 50 minutes, before grabbing his side’s second shortly after when he slotted Gordon Smith’s cut-back into the net from 12 yards.
As expected, the Dons pushed forward with urgency and Hearts had Jamie Macdonald to thank for keeping them at bay as he made a fine block to deny Scott Vernon from close range.
Substitute Declan McManus then squandered a half chance to get on the scoresheet in the dying minutes of the match as he failed to apply the necessary power on a half volley four yards from goal.
Hearts: MacDonald, McGowan, Webster, Zaliukas, McHattie, Stevenson, Barr, Taouil, Driver, Smith, Sutton