Aberdeen recovered from the loss of Charlie Mulgrew after 20 seconds to record their fourth straight win and gift the red army a welcome Christmas present. It took a first half free kick from the training ground to settle this ill tempered affair. A free kick was awarded on the right and as two players ran over the ball Severin found Miller lurking at the far post and the striker fired a fierce controlled shot past the keeper. The game threatened to get out of control after the break as Hearts were reduced to ten men when Zaliukas was red carded. There was further controversy late on when the Dons were denied what looked like a stone wall penalty as Darren Mackie was scythed to the ground when he looked certain to add a second. Aberdeen are now on a good run and poised to challenge for third spot in the league..
Hearts kicked off in a red hot atmosphere inside Pittodrie and Charlie Mulgrew picked up a nasty knock in a challenge with Nade with only 20 seconds on the clock. The visitor's took advantage of the full back's absence and won two corner kicks before Considine could replace the unfortunate Mulgrew. Aberdeen were still looking to recover from the early set back and had still to launch their first attack of the game with 10 minutes gone.. Referee Brines wasn't helping matters with constant stoppages for innocuous challenges.
Considine was looking nervous as he took time to settle and a poor clearance was quickly followed by a second blunder that allowed Kingston to break. Aberdeen created their first chance in the 10th minute when de Visscher released Mackie one-on-one with Baloghi, but the keeper was out quickly to block the strikers' effort. At the other end Zaliukas headed a Stewart free kick well wide. Aberdeen struggled to clear their lines in the 13th minute as Hearts continued to dominate the play. Mackie carved out another chance in the 15th minute as he beat two players inside the box but Balogh once again made a fine stop.
Aberdeen were showing better form now and Aluko was starting to sparkle as he combined well with Mackie before delivering the ball into the danger area where the Hearts defence collected and played smartly out of defence. Karipidis should have seen yellow in the 20th minute after a blatant foul on McDonald, but Aberdeen failed to make the most of the set play as Balogh easily gathered Aluko's delivery. Berra did collect a yellow card four minutes later after he took the legs from Lee Miller. A minute later Hearts created their best chance to date when Kingston laid the ball off to Karipidis who fired wide from the edge of the box.
Jeffrey de Visscher went even closer in the 26th minute when he hit a low volley inches wide from 20 yards. Two minutes later McDonald forced Balogh into a save with a drive from a similar distance. A ball over the top was flicked into the path off Miller in the 33rd minute but Balogh was quick off his line to snuff out the danger. Aberdeen grabbed a precious lead in the 36th minute with a goal made on the training field. A free kick was awarded on the right and as two players ran over the ball Severin found Miller at the far post and the striker fired in a fierce controlled shot past the keeper.
Hearts tried to hit back and Diamond made an important challenge on Driver deep inside the Dons box after initially being turned by the striker. Mackie was booked in the 43rd minute for a late challenge on Zaliukas and the Hearts player also received a booking for gesturing to the referee that Mackie should be cautioned. Aberdeen had a late chance when Aluko won a free kick, but the set play was taken too quickly and the chance was wasted. Nade then had half a chance from the edge of the box, but Langfield was able to gather and maintain the Dons lead at the interval.
Both sides struggled to create chances in the opening minutes of the second half as the play was littered with errors. Miller and de Visscher almost combined in the 50th minute but the visitor's managed to clear and a minute later Aluko went down clutching his ankle, but fortunately he recovered quickly. Hearts won the first corner of the second half in the 54th minute, but the home defence did well to clear and a minute later Driver worked his way into the box, but fired well wide.
Aluko and Miller combined well in the 57th minute as they broke from defence and won the Dons first corner of the match. That set play failed to threaten, but a step over by Aluko on the hour mark almost produced the second goal. Unfortunately no one could take advantage as the ball sped across the face of the goal. Two minutes later a Lee Miller free kick was blocked before a Nade effort went sailing into the Family Stand. Mackie had the ball in the net in the 66th minute after chipping the keeper, but the referee had already blown for a free kick.
Lee Miller went so close to a double in the 70th minute when he beat his defender and forced Balogh to palm his effort away. The stand side linesman created Hearts next chance when he awarded a corner after Considine had clearly prevented the ball from going out of play. A second corner was awarded despite Severin looking to be fouled as he cleared. Before this could be taken, trouble erupted when a mêlée broke out on the goal line. The end result was yellow cards for Nade, Zalikas and Miller, With Zaliukas taking an early bath as it was his second caution of the game.
Aluko and de Visscher combined well on the right to win an Aberdeen corner and from the resulting set play Diamond fired wide. Considine became the next player to pick up a caution for a poor challenge on Driver in the 81st minute. Referee Brines then enraged the red army when he denied Darren Mackie a stone wall penalty as the striker was scythed to the ground when through on goal. Scott Severin was booked in the aftermath, and it clearly had the crowd outraged.
Miller and Aluko combine in the 85th minute before the Hearts defence managed to scramble the ball clear. Again good play created a chance for Considine but once again Mr Brines intervened with the award of a free kick. Maguire replaced Aluko with three minutes remaining as the game raged from end to end. Mair replaced McDonald to waste a few more seconds as Hearts tried to launch a final attack. Aberdeen repelled the attack however to record a famous victory. The game once again erupted at the final whistle when Neilson and Maguire were involved in a fracas.