Hearts 3, Aberdeen 0: November 4, 2000
HEARTS got back to winning ways after successive defeats by Hibs and St Johnstone with a comfortable win over the Dons.
The home side were eager to get off on the front foot and were first to threaten when Juanjo made a darting run across the edge of the Aberdeen box but his shot was eventually charged down.
Antii Niemi then had to look alert in the sixth minute to gather a drive by Chris Clark as Aberdeen came more into the game.
But Hearts should have taken the lead through Gary Locke, only for his goalbound effort to be cleared off the line.
A neat interchange involving Colin Cameron and Juanjo resulted in Stevie Fulton spreading a superb ball to the left wing where Andy Kirk was left unmarked. The striker’s cross was blocked by Jamie McAllister for a corner. Fulton sent the cross in and the ball was knocked out only as far as Gary Locke, whose shot was cleared off the line by David Rowson.
The hosts kept the pressure on and Juanjo forced another corner soon after. Locke’s inswinger was headed goalwards by Gordan Petric and Ryan Esson looked unsteady under pressure from Steven Pressley, the ball bouncing off the top of the crossbar.
Derek Young then brought Niemi into action again, the Finn getting down well to save his low left-foot shot.
With 18 minutes on the clock, Cameron came close to breaking the deadlock. The Jambos skipper dispossessed Darren Young midway inside the Dons half. He surged forward before letting fly, his right-foot shot rising just too much. Five minutes later Scott Severin should have done better when his shot was blocked by Mark Perry.
With 24 minutes gone, though, Colin Cameron put his side ahead. The star played a delightful one-two with Juanjo to split the Aberdeen defence. Cameron raced on to the Spaniard’s return pass before clipping the ball past Esson.
Moments later, the Jambos almost doubled their advantage, Esson doing well to gather a Robbie Neilson shot at his near post. Robbie Winters thought he had a chance to level things shortly after but an offside flag denied him the opportunity.
On 31 minutes, the lively Kirk came within inches of grabbing No. 2. There seemed little danger when the Northern Ireland internationalist gathered the ball some 20 yards from goal but his powerful left-foot drive beat the diving Esson only to come back off the inside of the keeper’s right-hand post, the ball rebounding to safety.
After the interval, Esson did well to push a Kirk shot behind for a corner. Perry was then spoken to for bringing down Robert Tomaschek. Petric took the free kick and Esson leaped to his right to pull off a superb stop. In the 53rd minute, Arild Stavrum had a good shooting opportunity but sent his drive from just outside the Hearts box well wide of target. Kirk then forced Esson into another good stop before there was a real scare from Jim Jefferies’ side. A David Rowson shot came back off Niemi’s right-hand post, the ball then ricocheting off an Aberdeen player back towards goal where Kirk was on hand to boot the ball off the line.
The home side needed a second goal to give them a cushion and it duly arrived in the 63rd minute. Juanjo sent in an inch-perfect cross from the left and with Esson hesitating, Severin had the simplest of tasks to head the ball home.
Kirk then made it three in the 86th minute – his fifth goal in six game – after Fulton had played him in.
Hearts: Niemi, Neilson, Petric, Pressley, Murray, Severin, Fulton, Locke, Cameron, Juanjo, Kirk.