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Aberdeen 2 - 0 Heart of Midlothian

HT Score: Aberdeen 0 - 0 Heart of Midlothian

Div 1 (Old)
Aberdeen scorers: Love 72, Love 87.

24/03/1928 | KO: 15:00

Wanted - A Centre Forward

About 12,000 spectators were present at Pittodrie, Aberdeen, where Heart of Midlothian were the visitors. Though neither side had anything at stake, a keen and interesting game was seen, with Aberdeen coming out on top at the finish by 2 goals to 0, a margin that flattered them, though, on the whole, they were not undeserving of their victory. The Hearts had quite as much of the play as the home men, but their finishing was not good, several excellent chances of scoring being lost through a lack of snap at close quarters. The Edinburgh men thus contributed to their own defeat, but on other occasions they were unfortunate in having likely shots blocked or deflected for abortive corners close in on the Aberdeen goal. The home defenders were strong and rugged all through, frequently having no regard for direction in their clearances, but never allowing the Hearts' front line to settle to an effective combination. The Hearts rear ranks were more subdued in their methods, but compared well with their opponents in effectiveness, Pratt and King kicking accurately at full back, and Herd, Johnston, and Shaw forming a strong half-back line that gave their forwards good support right through the game. No scoring took place in the first half, during which the Hearts had the assistance of a following breeze. The best effort to score was made by Devlin, a clever header passing inches outside the posts, and Innes, McMillan and Murray also had shots saved by the Aberdeen goalkeeper. Gilfillan, the Hearts' custodian, was not often called upon in this half, but he made several excellent clearances at wide intervals, the Aberdeen forwards usually being dangerous in their sudden raids. Half an hour of the second half had been played before Aberdeen took the lead by Love, their outside-right, whose angular shot Gilfillan had no chance of saving as he was completely unsighted when the ball left the scorer's foot. The Hearts fought back gallantly, but failed in their efforts to equalise, and Love put the issue out of doubt by heading a second goal two minutes from the end.

Source: The Scotsman, 26th March 1928


Aberdeen registered their eighth successive home victory on Saturday, when they defeated Hearts by 2 goals to 0. With the weather cold, dull, and threatening, the game attracted only about 10,000 spectators. Aberdeen deserved to win on their second half display, but play never touched a high standard, and generally defence was master of attack. Both sets of attackers missed chances, and there was much erratic passing, while the shooting generally lacked sting and direction.
Play was uninteresting until the last twenty minutes when an element temper crept into the game, and this had the effect of livening the exchanges. Both goals fell to Love, the home right winger, and near the end he came very near to registering the "hat trick," when Gilfillan deflected a fierce shot from close range.


Aberdeen were well served by their defence, in which Jackson, Black, and McHale were outstanding. Yorston was the best of a forward line that did not distinguish itself until late in the game, when the Hearts' defence got a severe gruelling.
For Hearts, Gilfillan, Pratt, Herd, and Johnstone in defence were prominent, and McMillan was the most successful of a rather ineffective forward line.


Gilfillan was the first goalkeeper to handle, having to clear an awkward ball from Love. Hearts retaliated ton he right, and lnnes forced a corner which was cleared. Midfield exchanges ruled for a time, but later Hearts, who had the assistance of the breeze, again attacked, and Devlin headed wide. Two fruitless corners fell to the visitors and then Love and Smith in quick succession led raids for Aberdeen, but later Murray had Blackwell in action. From a long pass forward by Yorston, Merrie had a chance for Aberdeen, but he delayed, and Gilfillan ran out and deflected the shot over the bar. In end to end play, Shaw for Hearts, and Smith for Aberdeen were wide with shots, and McHale was badly off the mark with a free kick. Following a flag kick by Smith, Love headed in, but King cleared and a fine shot by Cheyne was cleverly saved by Gilfillan. The game took another turn in favour of Hearts after this, and after McMillan had a shot behind, McHale headed out from Miller. Near the interval Aberdeen rallied again, and Love and Smith both sent behind, but Gilfillan had to stop a good drive by the home left winger. There was no scoring at half-time.


When the game resumed, Merrie headed past from Love's centre, and Gilfillan deflected round the post a great shot by Cheyne. Following this, Hearts should have taken the lead, Murray sending weakly past with only Blackwell in front. After this escape Aberdeen monopolised the attacking for a time, but they could make little of the Hearts' defenders, who continued to play a dour and spoiling game, and several likely shots were charged down or blocked. A good shot from McMillan at long range was cleared by Blackwell, and following this Aberdeen set up determined pressure. Centres by Love and Smith were headed clear by Johnstone, and on one occasion Gilfillan ran out and practically picked the ball from Merrie's feet.
Cheyne, Yorston, and Love were all off the mark with shots, but after twenty-seven minutes' play Love met the ball from a rebound and, cutting in, scored with a splendid left-foot drive. After this the game became more lively, and the referee found it necessary to administer cautions to Gilfillan, Yorston, and Smith. Aberdeen continued to monopolise the attacking for a time, and the Hearts' goal had several narrow escapes following corner kicks and scrimmages in front of Gilfillan. Near the close Smith centred, and Love running in, headed past Gilfillan to give Aberdeen a second goal. The right winger almost increased the lead in the last minute, when Gilfillan deflected his fierce shot over the bar.

Source: Press & Journal, 26th March 1928

Of two poor teams Aberdeen were slightly the superior on Saturday. The game as a football spectacle was a failure. Neither the Dons not the Hearts, on Saturday's form at any rate, are worthy of the high positions they occupy on the League chart, and I have never witnessed a more "scrappy" display between the teams. The spectators must have been bored in the first half of Saturday's encounter. There was more excitement in the second half, but the football shown in this period was little better. In fact, I attribute the awakening of the Dons from their slumbers to the shouting and exhortations of the spectators. The crowd were thirsting for a goal, and it was not until after Love scored with a glorious left-foot drive that there was anything like sting imparted into the play. It was only during the last twenty minutes that the onlookers got value for their money. During this period Hearts were seldom in the picture, whereas the Dons were constantly harassing the Tynecastle defence. Even during this, the brightest, part of the game the homesters did not give an impressive display, but they were mostly on the offensive because of their do-or-die methods. There was little attempt made at playing real good football. Aberdeen won because of their slap-dash methods in the closing stages, coupled with the fact that they possessed an outside left in Love who cast all fear aside and never hesitated to get close up in readiness for an opening. When he scored his second goal from the only decent cross put over by Smith during the whole game he literally threw himself at the ball and headed past Gilfillan. It was only a great save in the last minute on the part of the Hearts' goalkeeper that prevented Love from registering the "hat-trick."

An Over-rated Team

It may be that the Hearts missed the skill and prompting of Peter Kerr, but, at any rate, I consider that they are an over-rated team. The fact that the Tynecastle team, as well as Aberdeen, are so highly placed can be attributed to the fact that Scottish Football is much poorer than it used to be. There can be no doubt whatever that the game in Scotland is deteriorating. The Scottish Selectors have laid that down in black and white by choosing eight Anglo-Scots to appear at Wembley on Saturday. That by the way, however. The fact remains that clubs like Aberdeen and Hearts who are among the best supported teams in Scotland, ought to be able to field teams of the same calibre as Celtic and Rangers.
I am convinced that both Aberdeen and Hearts have a big problem to solve with regard to the centre-forward position. Devlin is not the player he was when with Cowdenbeath. He has lost his powers of penetration, although I must say, he is a fine distributor. Merrie has not come up to expectations. He was a much praised player before coming to Aberdeen, but he has done nothing in any of the games he has played so far to force me to the conclusion that he will be an asset to the team. One goal in five First League matches is a poor return from a player who is drafted into a Scottish League team right off the reel. He makes a poor attempt to get the ball under control, while he is crude in his style of trying to elude an opponent. Merrie will have to improve by a very large extent before he can lay claim to be the recognised leader of the Dons' attack. McFarlane, although small, is a more judicious and successful centre, but his services are required in the second team. Tey even the Shawfield junior has not exactly set the heather on fire when in the League team. The securing of a capable and goal-scoring centre for next season should be the principal aim of the directors, for I am convinced that this has been the chief stumbling block all season.
Against Hearts on Saturday Merrie had chances which ought to have resulted in goals, but he failed to grasp them. Nor did he even test Gilfillan with anything like a scoring shot.
The other players passed muster, but from what I can gather, they will, provided the management secure the proper recruits, have to fight hard for their places next season. I am told that there will be a big clearing out at the end of the season, and not before time, too.

Yorston Shines

Blackwell was not severely tested against the Hearts, but the work he got to do was performed in a confident manner. It stands to Harry's credit that in the last five games he has only been beaten once. He himself has done a great deal towards establishing such a fine record, for there were games when, but for his cleverness in goal, the Dons would have been beaten. Jackson was the better back, but he had a hot handful in Murray. Bruce did quite well, although there are occasions when he makes one feel uneasy. McHale was the strong man in the middle division, while both Black and McDermid did well in the second half only. There was no forward on the field superior to Yorston. The little fellow is more than paying his way. He is very nippy and robs an opponent when it seems a 10-1 chance that he cannot reach the ball. Some of his movements completely mesmerised the Hearts' defence. Cheyne, too, was very clever, and it is a pity that the passes he puts up the centre are not made better use of. Smith was only fair. He was well held by Pratt, while he did not get the ball over quickly enough. It must be said, however, that he was poorly served in the first period. Love's goals were well taken. It may be that he is not so clever on the ball as Reid was, but no one can deny that he is a most dangerous man in front of goal. No so very long ago one who occupies a responsible position in football remarked to me that he could not see the value in an outside right cutting in. His theory was that it was the duty of the winger to carry the ball up and then slam it across. The number of goals scored by Love this season and the manner in which he has scored them must surely have convinced the gentleman in question that his views are entirely wrong. I am not putting Love up for show as my perfect wing man, but, to my way of thinking, he is one of the most serviceable and wholehearted forwards the club has had since pre-war days.

Source: Bon-Accord, 31st March, 1928

Aberdeen Teamsheet
Blackwell, Jackson, Bruce, Black, McHale, McDermid, Love, Cheyne, Merrie, Yorston, Smith.

Bookings:  Yorston,  Smith.
Heart of Midlothian Teamsheet
Gillan; Pratt, King; Herd, Johnston, Shaw; Innes, Millar, Devlin, McMillan, Murray

Bookings:  Gilfillan
Attendance: 9,500
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen
Referee: J. P. Rowe, Glasgow
Next Match
27 Jul 2024 / 15:00 / Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen