Just 72 hours after the League Cup semi-final at Hampden, Jim Goodwin made two enforced changes to his team, Anthony Stewart missing out through suspension and Kelle Roos out with a thigh injury picked up in that game. Joe Lewis returned in goal for his first game of the season, with Jonny Hayes also coming into the team. Tom Ritchie, Dante Polvara and Alfie Bavidge were added to the bench, Ritchie allowed back from Peterhead on an emergency three day loan.
Hearts made just the one change to the side that beat St Mirren 1-0 at Tynecastle last Friday. Cameron Devlin came in to replace Andrew Halliday.
Both sides made a positive, energetic start to the game without giving either goalkeeper anything to worry about in the early exchanges. The first opportunity came on eight minutes. Ylber Ramadani intercepted a pass inside his own half and drove forward before unleashing a fierce shot from 25 yards out, Clark doing well to palm it behind.
Hearts were in front on the quarter hour though, a horrible, scrappy goal. A long throw into the box from Hill flew just over Ramadani as he tried to head clear at the near post, cannoned into the unsighted Graeme Shinnie and rebounded into the net.
Good play put Hearts under pressure on 22 minutes, Matty Kennedy's free-kick from the left touchline headed on by Duk. Liam Scales looked to be impeded but as the ball was half cleared, Ramadani's shot was deflected wide. The Dons were still in good heart despite being a goal behind.
Smith doubled the Hearts lead on 28 minutes, a ferocious finish despite looking well offside as he ran away from Hayden Coulson. A raking diagonal pass over 60 yards from Sibbick at the back picked him out on the run. Smith controlled the ball well and then lashed a shot from the corner of the box into the opposite corner, a top class finish.
Aberdeen responded, Leighton Clarkson pouncing on a loose ball in the box before having his shot blocked in the box. A couple of minutes later, McKay curled a shot wide from 25 yards after he was given far too much room on the edge of the box.
On 37 minutes there was a check for a handball in the Dons box. The ball clearly caught Scales' left arm, but there was no intent from the defender who was looking in the opposite direction as he was looking in the other direction. Despite that, a penalty was given and Duk booked, presumably for dissent. Shankland buried the spot kick in the bottom corner for 3-0.
Aberdeen should have grabbed a goal on 42 minutes, a lovely ball from Clarkson into Miovski's path but from 14 yards out, he hesitated just long enough to allow a defender to come across and get a deflection on it to take it wide of goal. An important chance gone begging.
As the half went into stoppage time, it was 4-0. Shankland was set away down the right hand side and played in a low cross. Ginnelly got in front of Ross McCrorie at the near post and clipped the ball past Lewis.
HALF-TIME: HEARTS 4 ABERDEEN 0
Duk hadn't given up the cause as the sides came back out, bustling past several challenges down the left in the opening minute, getting to the by-line and pulling the ball back through the box, but behind the Aberdeen players that were coming forward.
Hearts were in again on 52 minutes, too easily down the Aberdeen left again, Shankland getting in front of the defence at the near post but jabbing it against the woodwork.
The Dons were nearly in on 53, not dissimilar to Ginnelly's goal, Hayes getting onto a ball into the near post but putting his effort into the crowd. It was Hayes' last act as he was replaced by Vicente Besuijen. Rowles was booked for a foul on Miovski moments later, yet a studs up tackle from Devlin on Ramadani went unpunished on 58 minutes.
Patrik Myslovic made his Aberdeen debut on 61 minutes, Ryan Duncan also coming on on his 19th birthday. Clarkson and Miovski were replaced. Within seconds though, it was 5-0, a thick deflection from a Devlin shot flying past Lewis, Devlin collecting a flick on from Shankland and running beyond Scales and McCrorie.
Hearts made their first switch after 65 minutes, Grant and Humphrys came on as McKay and Ginnelly made way. Humphrys was a whisker away from a sixth, another cross coming in too easily from Grant on the left, Humphrys unable to make contact at the back post as he slid in.
Aberdeen made their final changes on 72 minutes as Jayden Richardson and Marley Watkins were introduced in place of Kennedy and Duk. Kingsley was Hearts' next switch, on for Sibbick after 75 minutes.
Besuijen had an effort on goal on 78 minutes. Duncan spearing the ball into the back post from the right flank, Besuijen twisting to get his head on it, Clark making a straightforward save.
Oda and Forrest were Hearts' final substitutions of the night, Smith and Snodgrass replaced after 85 minutes. Two minutes later, Lewis made a terrific save low to his right from Forrest, then McCrorie got back to clear off the line as Grant smashed in the rebound.
A late consolation came in the 90th minute, Besuijen twisting away from a couple of challenges before driving the ball through the six yard box where Watkins found a neat finish to score. Typical of the night, VAR then chalked the goal off for the most marginal offside.