Scottish Premiership
Aberdeen0Hearts0

Aberdeen 0-0 Heart of Midlothian

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Highlights: Aberdeen 0-0 Hearts

Hearts set a new club record of six consecutive clean sheets as they held second-placed Aberdeen at bay.

The visitors were well organised, but goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin had to make a series of saves, the best of them from Scott McKenna's header.

David Milinkovic, in the first half, and Isma Goncalves both came close for Hearts.

Hearts were reduced to 10 men before the end when Kyle Lafferty was sent off for a challenge on Graeme Shinnie.

The first half was a bruising and uncompromising affair as Aberdeen attacked with pace and verve while Hearts showed why they have been so difficult to break down with a disciplined defensive display.

Injuries forced Craig Levein to make four changes to the side that drew with Hibernian in midweek and that misfortune continued as Michael Smith and Anthony McDonald were both forced off in the first 35 minutes.

Hearts striker Kyle Lafferty sent off by referee John Beaton
Hearts striker Kyle Lafferty was dismissed by referee John Beaton for a tackle on Graeme Shinnie

Eighteen-year-old Danny Baur and Lafferty were the replacements, but it didn't really affect the flow of play as the Dons pushed forward by dominating possession in the opening period. Hearts are much more resolute than earlier in the season.

The central defensive trio of John Souttar, Aaron Hughes and Christophe Berra in particular threw their bodies on the line when the occasion demanded it and behind them they had a goalkeeper in McLaughlin at the top of his form.

The former Burton Albion player produced a stunning instinctive save to deny Adam Rooney what looked like a certain opener after a cross was deflected into the Aberdeen striker's path six yards from goal.

Hearts defender Michael Smith injured
Hearts defender Michael Smith was forced off through injury during the first half at Pittodrie

That came just four minutes from the break and was easily the home side's best chance of a frenetic first 45 minutes, but before that Hearts had squandered an equally good opportunity on one of their infrequent counterattacks.

McDonald and Goncalves combined to send Milinkovic clear through the middle but the winger lacked conviction and goalkeeper Joe Lewis raced out to block the Serbian's shot.

Then on the stroke of half time it was Goncalves's turn to hesitate when in a good position and a combination of McKenna and Lewis made sure that Aberdeen didn't end the half trailing.

Hearts striker Isma Goncalves has effort saved by Aberdeen goalkeeper Joe Lewis
Hearts striker Isma Goncalves came close for the visitors when they broke upfield on counter-attacks

The Dons were even more in command in the second half after striker Greg Stewart replaced injured defender Andrew Considine at the interval.

Hearts continued to defend for their lives, as well an enjoying a slice of luck as Rooney sliced over when well placed to score.

Gary Mackay-Steven then saw a shot deflected wide by Souttar who then did likewise to deny Stewart a goal. McLaughlin once again showed why he is so highly rated with a brilliant one-handed save to claw away McKenna's header.

The Aberdeen central defender's physical presence caused Hearts problems at set pieces, but he lacked the accuracy to steer a header from 12 yards on target.

Aberdeen's Niall McGinn
Aberdeen's latest signing, Niall McGinn, was greeted by the home crowd before the kick off on his return to the club

The same shortcoming befell Hearts at the other end, with Goncalves miscued when he should have scored, while Harry Cochrane curled a shot from the edge of the area just wide. Hearts did, though, survive a penalty claim when the ball spun up off Jamie Brandon's thigh onto his arm but it looked unintentional.

The visitors received a flurry of five bookings as they fought to survive, and Lafferty took it too far with a scything tackle on Shinnie to earn a red card that will keep him out of the Scottish Cup tie against Hibernian next month.

However they did extend their run to nine games without defeat and 561 minutes without conceding.

Line-ups

Aberdeen

  • 1Lewis
  • 2Logan
  • 14ArnasonSubstituted forMaynardat 81'minutes
  • 19McKenna
  • 4ConsidineSubstituted forStewartat 46'minutes
  • 7McLean
  • 5O'Connor
  • 3Shinnie
  • 11Mackay-StevenSubstituted forWrightat 81'minutes
  • 22Christie
  • 9Rooney

Substitutes

  • 6Reynolds
  • 8Stewart
  • 10Maynard
  • 15Wright
  • 18Ball
  • 20Rogers
  • 21Harvie

Hearts

  • 1McLaughlin
  • 30BrandonBooked at 85mins
  • 4SouttarBooked at 75mins
  • 6Berra
  • 2SmithSubstituted forBaurat 17'minutes
  • 5Hughes
  • 15CowieBooked at 62mins
  • 46McDonaldSubstituted forLaffertyat 35'minutesBooked at 88mins
  • 47CochraneBooked at 90mins
  • 77Esmael Gonçalves
  • 11MilinkovicBooked at 67mins

Substitutes

  • 9Lafferty
  • 13Hamilton
  • 21Martin
  • 23Stockton
  • 36Baur
  • 38Petkov
  • 43Henderson
Referee:
John Beaton
Attendance:
18,371

Match Stats

Home TeamAberdeenAway TeamHearts
Possession
Home55%
Away45%
Shots
Home18
Away11
Shots on Target
Home4
Away4
Corners
Home10
Away1
Fouls
Home9
Away16

Live Text

Match ends, Aberdeen 0, Heart of Midlothian 0.

Full Time

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

Attempt saved. Esmael Gonçalves (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from more than 40 yards on the right wing is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Attempt blocked. Ryan Christie (Aberdeen) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

Foul by Ryan Christie (Aberdeen).

Aaron Hughes (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Ryan Christie (Aberdeen) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

Booking

Harry Cochrane (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

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

Foul by Harry Cochrane (Heart of Midlothian).

Attempt saved. Nicky Maynard (Aberdeen) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Dismissal

Kyle Lafferty (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the red card.

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

Foul by Kyle Lafferty (Heart of Midlothian).

Attempt missed. Ryan Christie (Aberdeen) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Attempt missed. Kenny McLean (Aberdeen) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Booking

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

Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Jamie Brandon (Heart of Midlothian).

Attempt blocked. Shaleum Logan (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Aaron Hughes.

Attempt blocked. Kenny McLean (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Substitution

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

Substitution

Substitution, Aberdeen. Nicky Maynard replaces Kári Arnason.

Attempt missed. Esmael Gonçalves (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the left side of the box is just a bit too high.

Foul by Kenny McLean (Aberdeen).

Harry Cochrane (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Adam Rooney (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by John Souttar (Heart of Midlothian).

Foul by Graeme Shinnie (Aberdeen).

Harry Cochrane (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Booking

John Souttar (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Greg Stewart (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by John Souttar (Heart of Midlothian).

Attempt missed. Esmael Gonçalves (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Attempt missed. Harry Cochrane (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right.

Foul by Anthony O'Connor (Aberdeen).

Jamie Brandon (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Manuel Milinkovic (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Greg Stewart (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic22156148153351
2Aberdeen2213453324943
3Rangers22124641251640
4Hibernian229853127435
5Hearts227962119230
6Kilmarnock216872528-326
7St Johnstone217592130-926
8Motherwell2173112632-624
9Hamilton2165103034-423
10Dundee2264122332-922
11Partick Thistle2255121937-1820
12Ross County2245132136-1517
View full Scottish Premiership table

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