Scottish Premiership
HeartsHeart of Midlothian2AberdeenAberdeen1

Hearts 2-1 Aberdeen: Uche Ikpeazu scores winner after fightback

By Jonathan SutherlandBBC Scotland at Tynecastle

Uche Ikpeazu scored the winner as Hearts produced a stunning second-half fight-back to beat Aberdeen and secure a top-six finish in the Scottish Premiership.

The striker capitalised on sloppy defending to fire home, taking Hearts two points above city rivals Hibernian.

Connor McLennan had edged the visitors ahead, forcing in after Sam Cosgrove's header crashed off the bar.

But Sean Clare levelled after Jake Mulraney was felled by Andy Considine.

Cosgrove had gone close to making it 2-0 to Aberdeen in the first half, before Ikpeazu missed a glorious chance to square it at 1-1 after the break.

Aberdeen, who suffered their first away defeat in 10 matches, drop to fourth following a victory for Steve Clarke's Kilmarnock.

Hosts a different side after break

Hearts set up with wingbacks but rather than go wide they opted for a far more direct approach, with Ikpeazu the inevitable target.

The big striker had an early effort saved by Joe Lewis before the away side took control, and soon the lead. From a Niall McGinn corner, Cosgrove rattled the bar with a header and McLennan was there to knock the ball in from close range.

Graeme Shinnie was a huge presence for the dominant visitors in the middle of the park and he fired a shot wide before Cosgrove had a looping header tipped over by Zdenek Zlamal.

Hearts had been poor, but at the start of the second half they had a huge chance. Jamie Brandon nipped in front of Lewis to win the ball at the edge of the box but, with the net empty, Ikpeazu somehow fired wide after the ball fell perfectly into his path.

The much-improved hosts equalised from the penalty spot after Mulraney was downed by Considine following an excellent burst forward. Up stepped Clare and the Englishman fired into the net.

Ikpeazu then went down under a challenge from Lewis, but referee John Beaton decided the striker had dived and brandished a yellow card. The Hearts forward was left in disbelief and replays showed he had a strong case.

Hearts continued to dial up the pressure and almost went ahead through Craig Wighton, but he could not sort his feet out six yards from goal and the ball was hacked clear.

But the hosts soon hammered home their second-half dominance. Ikpeazu powered his way into the box, leaving Considine and Scott McKenna in his wake, and picked his spot beyond Lewis to make it 2-1.

Seconds later Ikpeazu would be off, subbed after a head-knock following a collision. He was taken up the tunnel on a stretcher to rapturous acclaim from the home fans.

Sean Clare goal
Sean Clare knocks the ball beyond Joe Lewis to level for Hearts

Hearts rewarded for raising game - analysis

It was classic Jekyll and Hyde from Hearts. A poor first half was followed by an excellent second and in the end a deserved win. They had so many opportunities and, for a while, it looked like they might rue missed chances, but a top-six finish is now secured.

Two big matches loom for Hearts in the coming week - first Rangers away on Wednesday, then the derby with Hibs at Tynecastle next Saturday.

No doubt Aberdeen were the better side in the first half, with McLennan underlining how big a talent he is. The fantastic Aberdeen away record had to come to an end at some point, but the feeling of disappointment will sting all the more given the advantage they earned themselves in the first half.

'We were braver in the second half' - reaction

Hearts manager Craig Levein: "I didn't think there was much in first half but Aberdeen took their chance. We've come off a poor result at Hamilton and I felt we were negative as a result of that.

"But in the second half we played higher, were braver and got more opportunities. We've got a big week ahead of us, so a lot of things to look forward to."

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes: "We started well, and looked really confident. I was pleased right across the board with the first half. Half-time came at a good time for Hearts and a bad time for us.

"We're all scratching our heads at how we lost that game, we should have stood up to what Hearts did to us second half a lot better than we did."



Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 1Zlamal
  • 3Shaughnessy
  • 4SouttarBooked at 84mins
  • 6Berra
  • 25Brandon
  • 5HaringBooked at 57mins
  • 10Sutchuin-DjoumBooked at 84mins
  • 23Mulraney
  • 9Clare
  • 19IkpeazuBooked at 62minsSubstituted forBozanicat 81'minutes
  • 15Wighton


  • 7Bozanic
  • 8Lee
  • 13Doyle
  • 18MacLean
  • 20Cochrane
  • 26Godinho
  • 35Keena


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Lewis
  • 21BallBooked at 84mins
  • 4ConsidineBooked at 74mins
  • 5McKenna
  • 29Lowe
  • 19FergusonBooked at 84mins
  • 3Shinnie
  • 27McLennanSubstituted forDevlinat 87'minutes
  • 7StewartSubstituted forWilsonat 81'minutes
  • 10McGinn
  • 16CosgroveBooked at 18mins


  • 8Gleeson
  • 9Wilson
  • 14Halford
  • 17May
  • 18Devlin
  • 20Cerny
  • 24Campbell
John Beaton

Match Stats

Home TeamHeartsAway TeamAberdeen
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Heart of Midlothian 2, Aberdeen 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Heart of Midlothian 2, Aberdeen 1.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Sean Clare (Heart of Midlothian).

  4. Post update

    Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  5. Post update

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

  6. Post update

    Foul by James Wilson (Aberdeen).

  7. Post update

    Christophe Berra (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Sam Cosgrove (Aberdeen).

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Aberdeen. Michael Devlin replaces Connor McLennan.

  10. Post update

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

  11. Post update

    Foul by Sam Cosgrove (Aberdeen).

  12. Booking

    Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card.

  13. Booking

    Dominic Ball (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card.

  14. Booking

    Djoum (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card.

  15. Booking

    John Souttar (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card.

  16. Post update

    Jake Mulraney (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Dominic Ball (Aberdeen).

  18. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Aberdeen. James Wilson replaces Greg Stewart.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Oliver Bozanic replaces Uche Ikpeazu because of an injury.

As It Stood

8St Johnstone31125143042-1241
11St Mirren3155212358-3520
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