Confirmation of the drop seemed imminent when Willo Flood’s free-kick gave Aberdeen a 74th-minute lead at Tynecastle on Wednesday, after Danny Wilson had been sent off following a pull on Adam Rooney.
The Hearts fans rallied to show their support and the players defied the odds when Jamie Hamill netted a late penalty to secure a 1-1 draw.
Paterson told Hearts TV: “They were unbelievable. When they were singing towards the end it just lifted the boys when Danny got sent off. It just united the whole team really and it really helped.”
Paterson was also a major factor in the result, after winning the penalty when Shaleum Logan brought him down as the Aberdeen man tried to clear a bouncing ball.
The 19-year-old, who has impressed at right-back in recent games, said: “I was going to have a shot and take a big swing but then I thought ‘I can probably win something here’. I stuck my knee out and thankfully he brought me down.”
Hearts’ escape is not likely to last long - they need to win at Firhill on Saturday and hope Motherwell beat St Mirren to keep the issue going until after the Scottish Premiership split.
“We have not been that good against Partick Thistle so far this season,” Paterson said. “Hopefully we can rectify that at the weekend and get another three points.”