Aberdeen 0-0 Hearts: Kyle Lafferty red card 'harsh' says Craig Levein

Hearts striker Kyle Lafferty fouls Aberdeen's Graeme Shinnie
Hearts striker Kyle Lafferty was sent off for a late tackle on Aberdeen captain Graeme Shinnie

Hearts manager Craig Levein feels the red card shown to Kyle Lafferty against Aberdeen was "harsh".

The striker was dismissed by referee John Beaton with two minutes remaining following a challenge on Graeme Shinnie.

Hearts held on, though, to secure a 0-0 draw and set a new club record of six consecutive clean sheets.

"Kyle was chasing back, and he was a fraction away from the ball. I feel sorry for him," Levein said.

"The referee said he went in with excessive force but it wasn't any more forceful than other tackles in the game."

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Hearts players will go down in history, says Levein

Hearts goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin had to make a series of saves, and Levein reiterated that he will hold talks with the player about extending the one-year contract he signed during the summer.

The visitors also carried a threat on the counter-attack, implementing Levein's tactics that were built on a three-man defence of John Souttar, Aaron Hughes and Christophe Berra.

"I said to the players afterwards that their names will go down in history, so they all need a huge amount of credit for that," Levein added.

"I wish we were saying it was six victories, but they worked their socks off and did everything they could to win.

"The game-plan was to let them have possession in their own half, defend deep and hopefully hit them on the counter attack. Other than not taking the good chances that we made, the plan worked perfectly."

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes said he wasn't frustrated with his side's performance against Hearts

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes was pleased with his side's display and their form so far as the Premiership enters its winter break.

"I couldn't have put a more attacking team on the pitch as the game went into the dying stages and we did everything but hit the back of the net," McInnes said.

"Hearts have been on a strong run, and you can see why they haven't conceded goals. They have a shape they try to stay within and don't leave themselves too open, but then the emphasis is on us to play in the right areas.

"A combination of really good, resilient defending from them and us not finding that last pass or shot made us drop two points. I'm not frustrated with the performance.

"We are where we normally are, and three points ahead of this stage last season. I'm encouraged that we'll be able to bring more in the second half of the campaign.

"The break is welcome, the players need it, but we'll be eager to get back and pick up the baton. There's a lot of confidence in the team."

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