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Heart of Midlothian 0 - 0 Aberdeen

HT Score: Heart of Midlothian 0 - 0 Aberdeen

Scottish Premiership

09/09/2017 | KO: 15:00

Joe Lewis Makes a Point at Murrayfield

For the first ever time the Dons played at the home of Scottish Rugby; Murrayfield played host for the fixture. .

Derek McInnes made two changes to the team that beat Partick two weeks ago. Adam Rooney, the winning goal hero that day at Firhill came in for Greg Stewart and deadline day signing, Dominic Ball made his debut in place of Greg Tansey.

Aberdeen were backed by a 7,000 strong Red Army behind the goals, one of there biggest ever travelling support for a league game.

Although Aberdeen had not been given permission to train on the pitch prior to the game, they settled quickly in their new surroundings. They had a great opening in the first couple of minutes. Some good play from the midfield saw McLean play a neat pass through to Stevie May. His chip beat the keeper and was heading towards Rooney, but the number nine couldn't get a good contact on the ball. There may have been a strong penalty shout as a panicking Hearts defence appeared to impede Adam as he went for the ball.

On 4 minutes, Hearts were also appealing for a penalty. Rafal Grzlak found space into the box and was met by a strong O'Connor challenge. Craig Thompson thought about it but waved away the complaints and Aberdeen cleared.

Ryan Chrstie then found space at the edge of the Hearts penalty area and got a curling effort away, but McLaughlin saved; his handling had to be spot on as Rooney was there waiting in case the goalkeeper spilled.

The opening 10 minutes was played at a quick tempo, with the Dons dominating the early exchanges. May forced Souttar into a foul and the Hearts defender was booked in the process. Christie delivered a good ball into the box and Considine got his head to it, but Hearts scrambled it clear.

On 12 minutes Aberdeen forced the game's first corner. Christie delivered an out swinger and the cross just evaded May at the back post.

Aberdeen were by far the better side in the opening 20 minutes, they enjoyed a lot of possession in good areas, but after a tactical change Hearts then started to come into the game.

The game quietened down until the 22nd minute. Christie picked up the ball in the midfield. He beat one man then another and brilliantly made it to the by-line before being brought down in a dangerous area. Ryan took the free kick and his low effort aimed at the near post came off a leg and bounced into the box, but debutant Ball hurriedly lashed a shot over.

Stevie May was joining Christie in causing problems for Hearts and worked hard all afternoon to close down the hosts defence. After Lewis gathered from a cross he sent May on the charge but the striker was brought down before he could get away.

Hearts first opportunity came on the half hour mark as Logan brought down Walker in a dangerous area. Walker took the free kick from 25 yards and forced Lewis to make a smart save and the Dons cleared.

Back came Hearts however and Arnauld Djoum beat O'Connor and his goalbound effort was brilliantly tipped wide by Joe for a corner. From which Goncalves headed low and Lewis initially parried, but reacted quickly to stop Berra from getting in.

That series of chances woke up the home supporters, but the Dons held firm and nearly scored on the break minutes later. Stevie May found space in the middle and with Rooney and Christie either side of him but his long pass for Rooney frustratingly went astray.

After 34 minutes Shinnie fed Christie who found space on the left side - a number of Aberdeen players did the same in the first half. He took one touch before firing a shot across the keeper but the ball just went past the post.

On 36, after more high pressing from Aberdeen, McLean curled a lovely effort just wide of the bottom corner, but it had taken a deflection and went out for the Dons second corner.

The frantic first half continued and the Dons once again had the hand of Joe Lewis to thank. Hearts broke in numbers and Jamie Walker was released. He took his time to curl a shot that was destined for the top corner, but Lewis at full stretch tipped it over the bar. A quite stunning safe that drew applause from everyone inside Murrayfield.

In the 40th minute Goncalves, who caused Aberdeen a lot of problems all afternoon, did really well to get away from his man in the middle of the Dons half. He raced towards goal, but took far too long in his decision making and that allowed O'Connor to get back and tackle well as the Dons cleared.

The services of McLaughlin were required again as the Dons forced the issue at the end of the half. Scott Wright picked out Logan superbly at the back post and he cut the ball onto his left before firing a low shot on target, but the 'keeper saved well with an outstretched foot. The ball came back to Rooney, but he couldn't divert his header towards goal.

Shortly after, Craig Thomson brought an exciting first half to an end, with both teams feeling they could have been ahead at the break.

HT. Hearts 0 Aberdeen 0

Hearts kicked off and immediately went on the attack. It was to be the story of the second half. Walker did well to get to the back post and forced an early corner. The corner was swung into the back post area and Berra, unmarked, volleyed but Lewis once again rescued his side.

Hearts dominated the early stages of the second period and were testing the Aberdeen defence. On 55 minutes Lewis once again bailed out his team with a double save. Ross Callachan lost Wright in the box and his close effort was battered wide by the big goalkeeper from point blank range. Another top drawer save.

On the hour mark Aberdeen had their first chance of the second half. Logan did well to get down the right, a rare occasion the Dons got in behind Hearts in the later stages of the game, and stood a ball up to the back post. Hearts cleared, but Mclean took his time and hit a dipping effort towards goal. McLaughlin had to be alert and saved well as the ball bounced up in front of him.

Hearts then started to look the stronger in the middle of the park.

On 63 Goncalves very nearly scored the opener. He surged towards goal, beat Considine and his effort crashed off the crossbar, with Lewis beaten for the first and only time all afternoon. Goncalves has been causing all sorts of problems for the Dons, but his time was up soon after as Kyle Lafferty replaced him upfront.

Scott Wright then had a decent chance just as he was away to be substituted. After a trademark run towards goal he got a fortune break of the ball, but couldn't get a clean contact and his shot was easily gathered by McLaughlin. Lafferty then went close with a header from a corner. He had space and should have hit the target.

In the 69th minute the Dons made a double substitution. Maynard and Mackay-Steven replaced Wright and Rooney as the Dons freshened up their attack.

The next big opportunity once again fell in the way of Hearts. Cowie did well on the right and whipped a dangerous ball low to the back post to Lafferty. He looked destined to score, but Logan out of nowhere appeared and managed to make a brilliant block.

In the 80th minute Reynolds replaced Ball as the Dons went back to four in defence.

On 87 minutes McLean picked up the ball and drove towards goal. With substitute Milinkovic hot on his heels, Kenny was brought down in a dangerous area. He took the free kick, but it lacked height and was stopped by the wall.

As injury time ticked away, Hearts had one last chance to win it. Don Cowie got to the back post and found space. He made contact with the cross but headed straight at Lewis. At that point Joe knew it was his day! There was one last attack for Aberdeen as Mackay-Steven beat his man on the wing. He took his time and cut the ball back, but nobody in blue was there and Hearts cleared.

The full-time whistle came as a bit of a relief for Aberdeen. After dominating the opening period, they then had big Joe to thank for securing the point. Although there were still chances to win it. The team remains unbeaten in the league campaign and will be looking to return to winning ways against Kilmarnock at Pittodrie next Saturday.
Heart of Midlothian Teamsheet
01.Jon McLaughlin, 04.John Souttar, 05.Aaron Hughes, 06.Christophe Berra, 07.Jamie Walker (11.Manuel Milinkovic 77), 15.Don Cowie, 16.Connor Randall, 20.Ross Callachan, 27.Rafal Grzelak, 10.Arnaud Sutchuin-Djoum, 77.Esmaƫl Ruti Tavares Cruz da Silva (09.Kyle Lafferty 65). Unused Subs: 03.Ashley Smith-Brown, 13.Jack Hamilton, 23.Cole Stockton, 36.Daniel Baur, 47.Harry Cochrane.

Bookings:  04.John Souttar (11),   06.Christophe Berra (53),   07.Jamie Walker (73).
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Lewis, Logan, Shinnie, Considine, O'Connor, McLean, Rooney (Maynard 70), Wright (Mackay-Steven 70), Ball (Reynolds 81), Christie, May.

Unused Subs: Stewart, Arnason, Tansey, Rogers.

Bookings:  May (91).
Attendance: 24,248
Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Referee: Craig Thomson
Next Match
10 Jul 2024 / 19:00 / Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead