Aberdeen had the Heart of Midlothian team in a Scottish League fixture at Pittodrie on Saturday. About 6000 spectators witnessed the match. The weather was ideal, but the pitch was on the hard side, and had to be sanded in places. The Aberdeen team was under strength, O'Hagan, the inside left, being of Bradford playing for a Ireland. The Hearts gave a trial to Barton, their latest recruit, from Stockton. Teams:-
Aberdeen: Mutch; Colman, Hume; Davidson, McIntosh, Low; Blackburn, Murray, Wilson, Niblo, Lennie.
Hearts: Muir; Collins, Rod. Walker; Stewart, Hynds, Nellies; Sinclair, Walker, Cavin, Gilmore, Barton.
Referee - Mister J. Lyon, Hamilton.
Aberdeen had the choice, and played towards the sea, with the sun at their backs. The Hearts were the first to settle down, Bobby Walker, the famous internationalist, leading some good runs. A dangerous raid on the Aberdeen goal was stopped by Low, who got his foot on the ball at the critical moment. When Aberdeen attacked, they got to closer quarters with the opposing backs than Hearts, and as the Tynecastle backs were not too scrupulous in their tackling, Aberdeen had several free kicks close-in. When they got on the run, the Hearts' forwards were difficult to stop, walker frequently bringing out applause for his tricking of the Aberdeen half-backs. If the Hearts were doing most of the aggressive work, the Aberdeen forwards were not idle, and twice Collins stopped hard drives for goal by Niblo, one of the shots taking the Hearts' back full in the stomach, and doubling him up. After 15 minutes' play, Aberdeen scored. Collins, hard pressed, gave away a corner, and Lennie, taking the kick, placed well into the goalmouth. Blackburn had to make a huge spring to get at the ball, but he reached it with his head, and put it past Muir, who had little chance to save. After the reverse, the Hearts pressed for a time, their progress being in great part due to the cleverness and generalship of Bobby Walker. Colman stopped a deadly shot, and then a rush of the centre, initiated by Hynd, almost produced the desired result, Cavin being ruled offside, as he got the ball in front of Mutch. From this point, the play of the Hearts deteriorated, and for the remainder of the half they were seldom dangerous. The Hearts goal, on the contrary, was frequently in danger, and Muir was well tested, the old Dundee custodian proving his worth in stopping shots from Niblo and Lennie when the rest of the defence were beaten. Wilson, the Aberdeen temporary centre, was extremely active, and a constant source of trouble to the Tynecastle backs. When Aberdeen were looking, all over, the winning team, they were unlucky, Hume being injured and having to be assisted off the field. The result was the reconstruction of the Aberdeen team, and in consequence of falling-off in their effectiveness. McIntosh was drawn back and Wilson shifted to the middle line, which left only four forwards. Against the weakened Aberdeen team Hearts had more of the game than they had previously been having. Muir saved thrice from Lennie, but Mutch was never called upon, Colman doing all that was required in the way of repulsing attacks. Near the close of the first period, when Hearts were pressing, McIntosh, running at full speed to tackle Sinclair, received the ball with terrific force in the face, and fell stunned to the ground. He had not fully recovered when the whistle sounded.
Hume was cheered when he came out with the Aberdeen team for the second half of the game, but he was limping badly. Aberdeen went off with a rush, and Niblo shot over from a promising position. Lennie was keen on the left, and, being well looked after, several amusing bouts were witnessed. Honours were about equally divided, Collins frequently beating Lennie for possession. Once Lennie ran clean through the Heart's defence, and was cutting into the centre, when one of the other Aberdeen forwards was wrongly given offside, to the chagrin of the crowd. All the Hearts' attempts to score were easily checkmated by Colman and Hume, the latter kicking well in spite of his lameness. A terrific low drive across to goal by Niblo almost beat Muir, who caught the ball but could not hold it. A corner kick that resulted brought Aberdeen no advantage, Niblo being penalised for pushing as the ball was coming in. Murray was the next two 'cause Muir anxiety. A clever side touch took him past Rod Walker, and he sent the ball swiftly across the goal, Lennie being half a second late, and just failing to reach it as it flashed past the outside of the upright. For the remainder of the game the Aberdeen team hemmed the Hearts into their own quarters, and at times it was a case of the Aberdeen forwards against Muir, who saved again and again in the most brilliant fashion. His holding of a terrific shot by Wilson from the penalty line was enough in itself to mark came as a great goalkeeper. Some of the melees in the Hearts' goalmouth were most exciting, but Muir kept cool, handled and fisted with great judgement, and saved his side from a big defeat. Towards the finish, Hearts rallied, but could make nothing of the Aberdeen defence. Mutch was never tested, and had an easy afternoon.
Gate, £105; stands, £15.
Source: Aberdeen Daily Journal, 15th February 1909