HEARTS dropped seven points behind Aberdeen in the league table after Adam Rooney’s late penalty won the match for the hosts.
Craig Fowler and Craig Cairns rate the performance of each and every player in what was a closely fought encounter.
Danny Ward – 7
The Dons’ stopper didn’t have a lot to do over the 90 minutes but came up trumps when he was relied on, brilliantly saving when Juanma was through one-on-one. His kicking, at times a weakness in his game, was also on point.
Shay Logan – 7
Quiet first half in an attacking sense but really stepped things up after the break. Produced a wonderful, goal-saving tackle to deny Sam Nicholson.
Ash Taylor – 8
Whether alongside Reynolds or Considine, the centre back helped keep Juanma and Sow quiet for the most part. His proactive style of defending helped him to break up several attacks.
Mark Reynolds – 7
The reliable defender was enjoying a solid, if largely untroubled, game until he was forced from the action at half-time.
Andrew Considine – 7
Was a little shaky in the first half when played at left-back but looked more at home in the centre after Reynolds’ injury. He should have done better with a header that he directed right at Alexander.
Willo Flood – 8
His energy and tenacity was a huge positive for Aberdeen throughout the match as they largely dominated the midfield battle. Like many of his team-mates in the middle, he had a better first half than second, but prevented Paterson and Sow from giving Hearts the lead with a double block on the goal-line.
Graeme Shinnie – 7
Took about 15 minutes to get to grips with his opponents as the visitors started with more intensity, but his improvement helped Aberdeen dominate the play for the rest of the period. His passing, control and relentless energy allowed him to link attacks across the park. Was less influential when moved to left-back.
Peter Pawlett – 7
Continued his recent renaissance by imposing himself on the action in the opening 45, including a clever flick of the shoulder that almost put McLean through on goal. Fell out of things a little and was subbed.
Kenny McLean – 7
His runs into the box between centre-back and full-back caused Hearts no end of problems in the first half. Another who was a little quiet after the break, though it was his cross to the back post that McGhee inexplicably decided to punch away, giving Aberdeen the penalty from which they won the game.
Jonny Hayes – 9
Aberdeen’s undoubted man of the match. He ran at the opposition every time he got the football and positively impacted the attack almost every time he touched the ball. His deliveries from wide should have resulted in a goal with Rooney and Considine both spurning chances put on a plate by the ambidextrous wide man.
Adam Rooney – 6
While he netted the winning goal from the penalty spot, this was not one of Rooney’s better afternoons. He struggled to physically match up to Rossi and Augustyn and passed up a glorious chance from open play before atoning with the spot-kick.
Ryan Jack – 5
Hearts came into the midfield much more in the second half after Jack replaced Reynolds, forcing Shinnie to move into the back four. Jack failed to make the same sort of impact as his team-mate.
David Goodwillie – 6
Came on later in the game as the hosts pushed for a goal and generally made a nuisance of himself in the final third. Did very well to carve open a chance inside the penalty area after wriggling past a couple of tackles, only to see his shot blocked by Rossi. (CF)
Neil Alexander – 8
Commanding performance with some decent saves thrown in. Denied a clean sheet by a crazy handball from one of his defenders.
Callum Paterson – 6
Struggled to contain Hayes in the first half, although was given little protection by his teammates. Improved in the second half.
Blazej Augustyn – 7
Defended well, keeping Rooney quiet with his central defensive partner. Hit far too many wayward long passes.
Igor Rossi – 8
Solid defensive display on the whole. Let McLean in behind him early on but improved afterwards.
Jordan McGhee – 4
Was due to be awarded a higher mark before his crazy decision to handle the ball and gift victory to Aberdeen. Made two excellent blocks and defended well.
Prince Bauben – 5
Screened the defence well in an energetic performance. Tidy in possession but didn’t get on the ball enough.
Miguel Pallardo – 3
A few stray passes and several fouls in his mere 30 minutes on the pitch. Substituted before he was sent off.
Arnaud Djoum – 5
Played almost as a striker at the start of the match, was moved to the right later on. Extremely quiet in both positions.
Osman Sow – 5
His pace caused a few problems at the start and was decent when Hearts had their spell in the second half. A poor performance overall.
Juanma – 5
Struggled to get into the game for the vast majority. Great touch for his one chance and denied by an excellent save.
Sam Nicholson – 6
Like Sow, started brightly and was good when Hearts had their spell later in game – hitting the bar with one effort. An otherwise quiet performance.
Morgaro Gomis – 5
Replaced Pallardo after 30 minutes but like the other Hearts central midfielders, was dominated by the Aberdeen midfield.
Only given a few minutes on the field after replacing Nicholson. (CC)