Scottish Premiership
Hearts0Aberdeen0

Heart of Midlothian 0-0 Aberdeen

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Highlights: Heart of Midlothian 0-0 Aberdeen

Superb Joe Lewis saves denied Hearts a win in their first league game at their temporary Murrayfield home - and first under Craig Levein as manager.

Aberdeen needed a win to return to the top of the Scottish Premiership and the point leaves them behind holders Celtic on goal difference.

The Dons had more possession before the break but had Lewis to thank as the keeper denied Isma and Jamie Walker.

Hearts dominated after the break and Isma also fired against the crossbar.

So Levein's second spell as Hearts team boss begins with a draw but a promising performance against last season's runners-up.

Derek McInnes' Dons lose their 100% league record this season but extend their run of games without a defeat against Hearts to five.

This was a fine spectacle in the capital, a big crowd in the Murrayfield sunshine and a game that was intriguing all the way through.

We wondered what impact Levein would have on a team whose confidence long since disappeared through a footballing trapdoor - and we didn't have to wait long for clues.

Hearts were well-organised, physically robust and, as the game went on, increasingly dangerous in attack. The soft touch of the Ian Cathro months was gone.

This was a team set up to compete and create rather than capitulate. They were overwhelmingly the better team but just couldn't find that precious goal.

In the opening minutes, it's true, Aberdeen dominated possession. McInnes went with Adam Rooney and Stevie May along with Scott Wright and Ryan Christie, an impressive display of firepower. It was Christie who stood out early on, his intelligence and trickery stretching Hearts and causing them problems.

The thing about Hearts, though, is that they didn't buckle. They hustled and harried and crowded the Dons out of it and, midway through the half, they started to come into it themselves.

Hearts manager Craig Levein congratulates debutant Ross Callachan
Craig Levein gave a first start to new signing Ross Callachan

From that point on, they stayed on the front foot. Lewis had to be in resolute form to keep them out.

Hearts asked all sorts of questions of him. A Jamie Walker free-kick was saved by Lewis low to his left. A minute later, it was Isma who forced the goalkeeper into action with another fine save.

Christie had an attempt of his own soon after, pulling a shot across new signing Jon McLaughlin's goal. The debutant, a composed presence, was preferred to Jack Hamilton on the day.

Lewis was soon the man again, brilliantly tipping away Walker's curling shot after Hearts countered following a Kenny McLean error. Next, it was Isma who cut his way through, but indecision saw the chance come and go.

The pace of it carried on at a fair old rate. Shay Logan had a close-range shot booted away by McLaughlin just before the break and, just after, Christophe Berra's volley was beaten clear by Lewis.

The goalkeeper's piece-de-resistance came 10 minutes into the second half when Goncalves chested down to the incoming Ross Callachan, who thumped his close-range shot at goal only for Lewis to knock it away. It was a sensational save.

Aberdeen were hanging on - and few would have fancied their chances of doing it successfully. Hearts were full of running. They had an accuracy and effervescence in their play that we haven't seen from them in a long time.

All they were missing was a goal. The fact that they still didn't have one became all the more freakish after Goncalves hit the crossbar just after the hour.

The breakthrough never came even when Don Cowie popped up in the six-yard box with only Lewis to beat. He couldn't do it.

McInnes will have given thanks for that. His team were badly out of sorts.

For Levein, frustration and satisfaction in one curious bundle on his first day in a new Hearts era.

Line-ups

Hearts

  • 1McLaughlin
  • 4SouttarBooked at 11mins
  • 5Hughes
  • 6BerraBooked at 53mins
  • 16Randall
  • 15Cowie
  • 20Callachan
  • 7WalkerBooked at 73minsSubstituted forMilinkovicat 77'minutes
  • 27Grzelak
  • 10Sutchuin-Djoum
  • 77Esmael GonçalvesSubstituted forLaffertyat 65'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Smith-Brown
  • 9Lafferty
  • 11Milinkovic
  • 13Hamilton
  • 23Stockton
  • 36Baur
  • 47Cochrane

Aberdeen

  • 1Lewis
  • 2Logan
  • 5O'Connor
  • 18BallSubstituted forReynoldsat 80'minutes
  • 4Considine
  • 22Christie
  • 3Shinnie
  • 7McLean
  • 15WrightSubstituted forMackay-Stevenat 70'minutes
  • 9RooneySubstituted forMaynardat 70'minutes
  • 83MayBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 6Reynolds
  • 8Stewart
  • 10Maynard
  • 11Mackay-Steven
  • 14Arnason
  • 16Tansey
  • 20Rogers
Referee:
Craig Thomson
Attendance:
24,248

Match Stats

Home TeamHeartsAway TeamAberdeen
Possession
Home53%
Away47%
Shots
Home18
Away11
Shots on Target
Home9
Away4
Corners
Home10
Away2
Fouls
Home20
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, Heart of Midlothian 0, Aberdeen 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Heart of Midlothian 0, Aberdeen 0.

Booking

Stevie May (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Manuel Milinkovic (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Stevie May (Aberdeen).

Attempt saved. Don Cowie (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Don Cowie (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Andrew Considine (Aberdeen).

Attempt blocked. Kenny McLean (Aberdeen) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Foul by Manuel Milinkovic (Heart of Midlothian).

Kenny McLean (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Connor Randall (Heart of Midlothian).

Stevie May (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Rafal Grzelak (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Gary Mackay-Steven (Aberdeen).

Attempt blocked. Manuel Milinkovic (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

John Souttar (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Gary Mackay-Steven (Aberdeen).

Attempt saved. Connor Randall (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Anthony O'Connor.

Attempt blocked. Djoum (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. Mark Reynolds replaces Dominic Ball.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Anthony O'Connor.

Attempt blocked. Kyle Lafferty (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Manuel Milinkovic (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen).

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Manuel Milinkovic replaces Jamie Walker.

Foul by Djoum (Heart of Midlothian).

Kenny McLean (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Kyle Lafferty (Heart of Midlothian) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

Booking

Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian).

Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Connor Randall (Heart of Midlothian).

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. Gary Mackay-Steven replaces Scott Wright.

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. Nicky Maynard replaces Adam Rooney.

Attempt missed. Kyle Lafferty (Heart of Midlothian) header from the centre of the box misses to the right.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Anthony O'Connor.

Attempt blocked. Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic5410123913
2Aberdeen5410105513
3St Johnstone532094511
4Rangers5311116510
5Motherwell53028719
6Hibernian52219818
7Hamilton52129907
8Hearts512236-35
9Ross County511359-44
10Partick Thistle5014510-51
11Kilmarnock501439-61
12Dundee5014412-81
View full Scottish Premiership table

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