Hearts recorded their biggest win of the 2010/11 season with an entirely one -sided display against a desperately poor Aberdeen side.
The Jambos came into this encounter on the back of four straight 2-0 victories, but Jim Jefferies’ men never looked like being restricted to that modest margin in this match.
Hearts were certainly clinical from the start as they found themselves two goals up before ten minutes had even elapsed. They created scoring chances almost at will, with David Templeton in particular able to slice through the Aberdeen defence every time he had the ball.
But Jefferies, for one, was not content with the rout. With 20 minutes or so remaining, and as a mood of self-satisfaction began to creep into the way his team were effortlessly keeping possession, the manager strode out to the edge of the technical are and berated his players for slacking.
He did not want the afternoon to be marred even by the loss of a single goal, and in the end he got his wish as Hearts recorded their seventh clean sheet in eight games.
While the visitors had the first chance of the contest when Zander Diamond glanced a header wide from a Paul Hartley corner, it was not long before Hearts made their domination count.
Templeton did the damage with a burst into the box, and although his run was halted by two Aberdeen defenders in a manner which must have had the referee contemplating the award of a penalty, the winger succeeded in swinging a foot at the ball from the deck and steering it over the line.
Minutes later the same player turned provider after a superb pass down the left channel from Marius Zaliukas found him in space. His low ball across the box found Rudi Skacel, and the Czech midfielder fired home first time.
Their failure to add to their tally before the break was probably a good thing for them, as it ensured they began the second half in search of the goal which would remove the last shred of doubt about the outcome.
That goal came after just five minutes, and arose from a challenge between Zaliukas and Hartley which left the Hearts captain on the ground and in need of treatment. With Hearts breaking down the left, Mike Tumilty intelligently allowed play to go on, and Ruben Palazuelos’s cross was headed into the net at the far post by Stephen Elliott.
Any notion that Aberdeen might be especially vulnerable down one flank was soon dispelled by the fourth goal, in which Elliott and Adrian Mrowiec combined down the right before the latter crossed to Templeton. The winger turned the ball back across goal and it might have crossed the line without a further touch, but Skacel made sure from a yard out.
The best was still to come from a Hearts point of view, as substitute Arvydas Novikovas’s goal was the pick of the bunch. From close to the left touchline the young Lithuanian drifted infield and curled a shot from the left edge of the box into the top right corner of Jamie Langfield’s net.
Hearts: Kello, Jonsson, Palazuelos, Bouzid, Mrowiec, Zaliukas, Black, Skacel, Kyle, Elliott, Templeton.