Maroon Memories: Hearts held after racing into two-goal lead

Bobby Prentice pictured during a training session at Tynecastle
Bobby Prentice pictured during a training session at Tynecastle
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Hearts 2, Aberdeen 2. Premier Division. September 20, 1975

HEARTS and Aberdeen shared the spoils in an entertaining encounter at Tynecastle, but the only disappointment for those in attendance was the fact the scoring had dried up after just ten minutes following an incredible start to proceedings.

Hearts had raced into a two-goal lead within five minutes, only for the Dons to respond with a couple of swift goals of their own to even things up.

The Jam Tatrs seized the initiative when Willie Gibson rattled a loose ball past Aberdeen goalkeeper Andy Geoghegan. And just 60 seconds later, Tynecastle was rocking to its foundations as the rampant hosts doubled their advantage when Bobby Prentice, whose tricky wing play means his name is still sung heartily by Jambos these days, tore in from the left flank before beating the advancing goalkeeper with a superb low drive which found the far corner of the net.

That should have been the signal for John Hagart’s men to kick on and see out victory after a fairly uninspiring start to the campaign.

Instead, the Edinburgh side’s defence, which was leaking too many soft goals at the time, lost concentration and allowed the visitors to haul themselves right back into the match. The fightback began when Jocky Scott, who would go on to manage Hibs, jinked through the Hearts defence, sparking an impressive passing move which would result in the former Dundee player sweeping the ball past helpless Hearts goalkeeper Jim Cruickshank after being teed up by Billy Williamson.

It proved the Pittodrie side were in no mood for capitulating, but Hearts didn’t heed the warning and they soon found their lead completely wiped out when Williamson’s shot from distance trundled through a forest of legs and beyond Cruickshank.

By now Hearts were shellshocked and the Dons were vibrant, but astonishingly that was the end of the afternoon’s scoring. Nevertheless, it remained an open and entertaining encounter with chances aplenty at both ends.

Drew Busby, another Jambo still revered to this day by the Gorgie faithful, was in fine form for the Tynecastle side along with Gibson, although they were perhaps fortunate to escape with a point in the end, as the Dons, inspired by Scott and Arthur Graham, came on strong later in the game.

The result provided a good indicator of things to come for the two sides in the 1975/76 season as they were separated by only three points at the end of the campaign.

Hearts finished fifth, 19 points behind champions Rangers, while Aberdeen were two places below in the ten-team league. It certainly went down as one of the more entertaining matches of the campaign, even if both teams maybe felt hard done by at not collecting full points.

Hearts: Cruickshank, Clunie, Kay, Brown, Anderson, Murray, Park, Busby, Gibson. Callachan, Prentice.

Aberdeen: Geoghegan, Hair, McLelland, Scott, Ward, Miller, Smith, Robb, Jarvie, Williamson, Graham.

Att: 9,500.