Aberdeen vs. Heart of Midlothian – Football Match Report – December 30, 2017
Aberdeen failed to make any ground on Ladbrokes Premiership leaders Celtic, drawing 0-0 against Hearts at Pittodrie.
The Dons probably deserved the three points, especially after a dominant second half display, but were kept at bay by a Hearts side who have now gone nine games unbeaten.
That despite a late red card for substitute Kyle Lafferty, who was sent off for a wild and cynical foul on Dons skipper Graeme Shinnie.
The visitors started more adventurously but when the first chance came in the 11th minute it was Hearts goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin who was called into action, first blocking a Gary Mackay-Steven shot, before holding Adam Rooney’s bicycle kick follow-up.
Kenny McLean had drifted to the right flank to provide the cross for that opening, and he was involved again as he cut in from the flank to fizz a left-footed cross in the direction of Rooney. The Irishman, who scored the only goal against Partick in midweek, ducked out of the way – but the ball was straight at the keeper.
The visitors then suffered the first of two injury blows, full-back Michael Smith forced off to be replaced by Daniel Baur, with teenager Anthony McDonald also withdrawn 10 minutes before the break, with Lafferty taking his place.
Hearts should have been in front after 31 minutes when a superb counter-attack saw Isma Goncalves play in on-loan Genoa midfielder David Milinkovic. He had only Joe Lewis to beat, but the goalkeeper was quickly off his line to block.
The home side had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock when Rooney turned inside the area, only for McLaughlin to turn the ball away for a corner. The resultant set-piece was worked to Shay Logan, but his left foot effort was off target.
The Dons had been the better side in the closing stages of the first half, but it took a combination of Lewis and Scott McKenna to crowd out Goncalves after a knockdown from substitute Baur presented the striker with another good chance.
However, the home side – who introduced Greg Stewart at the interval – began to dominate and Mackay-Steven was unlucky to see his drilled shot from the edge of the area blocked for a corner.
On the hour Stewart saw a shot blocked for a corner which he took himself. The flag kick was met by Scott McKenna, who saw his header saved.
Goncalves was sent clear with 15 minutes to go and found space to angle a shot from the right – but his effort was well off target.
The Portuguese had another chance after Logan was caught in possession five minutes later, but the ball seemed to take a bobble as he swung to strike it, and sailed high and wide.