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Impressive Aberdeen end Hearts’ unbeaten Premiership run with 2-1 win at Pittodrie

Aberdeen's Marley Watkins unleashes a stunning strike to make it 1-1 against Hearts in the Premiership.

Aberdeen’s revival continued apace with an impressive 2-1 defeat of Hearts to make it seven points from the last possible nine.

The resurgent Dons battled back from a goal behind at half time to end Hearts unbeaten Premiership run.

Hearts, reduced to 10 men late on, came to Pittodrie as the only club not to lose in the top flight.

Aberdeen ended that with a superb second half performance.

The Dons fell behind to a John Souttar penalty late in the first half.

However they hit back through a magnificent Marley Watkins strike and a Lewis Ferguson header.

Aberdeen’s Dean Campbell competes with Michael Smith of Hearts.

Hearts were reduced to 10 men when substitute Andy Halliday was shown a straight red in injury time for a late challenge on Ferguson.

The victory increased the positivity growing at Aberdeen following a 2-2 draw at Rangers and 1-0 defeat of Hibs.

Aberdeen made one change to the side that drew at Rangers on Wednesday with Jonny Hayes dropping to the bench.

Attacker Watkins returned to the starting line-up.

United States international striker Christian Ramirez was passed fit to start against Hearts having limped off in the second half at Ibrox.

With the injury absence of defenders Calvin Ramsay, Jack MacKenzie, Declan Gallagher, Andy Considine and Mikey Devlin captain Scott Brown yet again moved back into the heart of a three centre-back rearguard.

Hearts’ Stephen Kingsley competes with Ryan Hedges in the Premiership clash at Pittodrie.

Aberdeen created the first opportunity when Marley Watkins capitalised on a defensive error to race at goal.

Breaking into the box he fired a shot but it crashed off Craig Halkett.

In the 19th minute Watkins held the ball up well before cutting a pass from the left byline to Lewis Ferguson who had moved into space.

Ferguson attempted to curl a 25 yard shot beyond keeper Craig Gordon but the effort went wide.

In the 27th minute Ferguson was again involved when he played in Ryan Hedges who shot on the angle but keeper Gordon blocked.

Hearts’ Josh Ginnelly competes with Ross McCrorie at Pittodrie.

A corner kick whipped in by Michael Smith was cleared by Ferguson as far as Cameron Devlin in the 37th minute but his low shot from 25 yards trickled harmlessly wide.

There was plenty of effort from both teams in an uninspiring opening 45 minutes that lacked any real spark.

In the 40th minute there was a concern for Aberdeen when Hedges went down and required treatment by the club’s physios.

The play-maker was able to continue.

Hearts were awarded a penalty in the 45th minute a through ball found Ginnelly on the shoulder and he raced into goal.

He skipped past Lewis who ran out to close the angle.

The keeper dived for the ball at Ginnelly’s feet but was adjudged to have brought him down by referee Kevin Clancy.

John Souttar converted the spot kick.

Hearts’ John Souttar scores a penalty against Aberdeen on the stroke of half-time.

It was more penalty misery for the Dons after a contentious spot kick at Ibrox opened a route for Rangers to score and salvage a 2-2 draw on Wednesday.

Half-time: Aberdeen 0 Hearts 1

At half-time Aberdeen switched formation going to four at the back with Funso Ojo going to right back and Dean Campbell at left-back.

Brown was pushed back into midfield.

Aberdeen threatened in the 47th minute when a superb flicked ball from Watkins released Ferguson down the left flank.

The midfielder powered forward then cut into the box but his shot was straight at keeper Gordon.

Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass during during the Premiership clash against Hearts at Pittodrie.

Aberdeen levelled in the 49th minute when the ball was worked out to Hedges on the left side of the penalty area.

The Welsh international clipped a cross to the edge of the area to Watkins who took the ball down brilliantly, cushioning it on his knee.

He let it drop then fired a magnificent drive beyond Gordon from 16 yards into the roof of the net.

It was Watkins’ first goal since signing on a two year contract in the final week of the summer transfer window.

Aberdeen’s Marley Watkin celebrates his goal against Hearts in front of the Main Stand at Pittodrie.

Aberdeen were looking dangerous and were only denied by a superb diving save from the Scotland international keeper in the 54th minute.

Ramirez shot powerfully from 12 yards and somehow Gordon managed to block it.

Moments later Ramirez attempted an audacious bicycle kick that was goal bound but clattered off Stephen Kingsley.

It was an impressive response to Aberdeen after going behind so late in the opening half.

Aberdeen’s Marley Watkin celebrates netting a superb goal against Hearts.

Aberdeen secured their deserved reward for dominating the second half when Ferguson ran across the left hand side of the penalty area to drop marker Beni Baningime.

Hedges brilliantly blocked off Baningime and Ferguson capitalised by meeting a flighted Dylan McGeouch corner to angle a 12 yard header beyond Gordon.

Hearts were reduced to 10 men in injury time when substitute Andy Halliday wiped out Lewis Ferguson with a challenge near the byline.

Full-time: Aberdeen 2 Hearts 1

ABERDEEN (3-4-1-2): Lewis 7, McCrorie 7, Brown 8, Bates 7, Campbell 7, McGeouch 7 (McGinn 88), Ferguson 7, Ojo 7, Hedges 7, Ramirez 8, Watkins 8 (Hayes 85)

Subs: Woods, Emmanuel-Thomas, Gurr, Samuels, Longstaff.

HEARTS (3-2-4-1): Gordon 7, Kingsley 7, Halkett 6, Souttar 7, Cochrane 6 (Halliday 72), Baningtime 6, Devlin 6, Smith 6, Mackay-Steven 5 (McKay 57), Ginnelly 5 (Woodburn 57), Gnanduillet 6.

Subs: Stewart, Haring, McEneff, Moore.

REFEREE: Kevin Clancy


MAN OF THE MATCH: Scott Brown (Aberdeen)