Niall McGinn ensured Aberdeen ended 2019 with a point as they drew 1-1 with 10-man Hearts.
McGinn came off the bench to net a second-half free-kick following Sean Clare’s dismissal, with Hearts put in front by Ryotaro Meshino’s wonder-strike.
It was a laboured performance from the visitors, who had offered precious little as an attacking threat prior to the Northern Ireland international’s leveller.
Derek McInnes’ side finish 2019 in the same place they ended last season, taking fourth place into the new year.
Following his goal against Livingston, Bruce Anderson was handed his first start of the season for Aberdeen. Dean Campbell and Jon Gallagher were also in, with Ryan Hedges, Niall McGinn and Connor McLennan dropping to the bench.
Aside from a half-chance for Curtis Main, which was snuffed out by the Hearts defence, and a snap-shot by Ryotaro Meshino, the first 20 minutes offered little indication of either side being able to prise the other open.
The first moment of quality on 25 minutes came from the home side and from Uche Ikpeazu getting the better of make-shift left-back Dean Campbell before delivering a cross. Meshino collected at the back post and his cross-shot was intercepted on the line by Scott McKenna.
Hearts were clicking into gear and were denied an opener when skipper Craig Halkett was thwarted by Joe Lewis, latching on to Andy Irving’s free-kick, while the Dons goalkeeper was required to smartly keep out Ollie Bozanic’s header before referee Alan Muir blew for a foul.
Meshino had been Aberdeen’s biggest problem in the first half and unlocked the visiting defence in superb style. He collected the ball 30 yards from goal and with no maroon shirt in front of him, darted forward and whipped the ball beyond Lewis’ dive.
The Dons response was brief, with Anderson hanging in the air to meet Shay Logan’s cross before heading over, before being on the defensive again. This time it was Irving who take aim, with Lewis turning the ball behind.
They were, however, to get a reprieve midway through the second half. Clare was shown a straight red by Muir for dragging back Jon Gallagher and from the resulting free-kick, McGinn curled home.
Irving flashed a pot-shot over and only a well-timed challenge from Campbell prevented Conor Washington racing clear, as the 10 men continued to pose a threat on the counter.
Even with a man advantage the Dons did not look like grabbing a winner, with McInnes’ men having to settle for a point.