Ten-man Hearts have unbeaten league run ended by resurgent Aberdeen
Aberdeen’s uptick in form continued as they came from behind to win 2-1 and end 10-man Hearts’ record as the only undefeated team in the cinch Premiership.
The visitors had led through John Souttar’s penalty in first-half injury time after Joe Lewis had brought down Josh Ginnelly.
The Dons switched formation at the break and roared forward, with Marley Watkins netting the first goal of his second Pittodrie spell just four minutes into the second half.
Their momentum continued and Lewis Ferguson’s 69th-minute header was a fitting winner, with the Scotland midfielder later on the receiving end of the tackle that saw Hearts substitute Andy Halliday sent off.
Aberdeen made one change from their controversial Ibrox draw, with Watkins replacing Jonny Hayes in the starting XI. Funso Ojo continued at right wing-back in the absence of starlet Calvin Ramsay.
Top scorer Liam Boyce was not fit to return to the Hearts team, though they included Alex Cochrane and former Don Gary Mackay-Steven in place of Halliday and Barrie McKay.
Watkins saw an early effort blocked by Craig Halkett as the Dons created the first chance after just three minutes while Ferguson curled an effort wide from 20 yards.
But the best opportunity from open play fell to Ryan Hedges. Slipped in by Ferguson, he saw an angled drive saved by the feet of the evergreen Craig Gordon.
There was a warning for Aberdeen after 41 minutes as Ginnelly hit high and wide after Hearts seized on a loose pass from Dean Campbell.
The penalty came from similar slackness.
Scott Brown’s rare misplaced clearance was picked off and allowed Ginnelly into the area, where he was brought down by Lewis and Souttar stepped up to fire high into the net.
The home side were resurgent after the interval and levelled almost immediately as Hedges clipped a cross to fellow Welshman Watkins, who took the ball down on his thigh before firing home off the underside of the bar from 15 yards.
Aberdeen should have been in front four minutes later as Hedges found Christian Ramirez on the six-yard line but the American struggled to get the ball out from his feet and Gordon was able to save.
The Dons then had a penalty claim as a Ramirez volley hit the arm of Stephen Kingsley but referee Kevin Clancy was uninterested in his claims.
Their pressure was rewarded after 69 minutes as Ferguson rose unchallenged to bullet home a header from Dylan McGeouch’s inswinging corner.
A bad second half for Robbie Neilson’s men got worse when substitute Halliday flew into a needless challenge on Ferguson that earned the midfielder a straight red card after just 17 minutes on the park.
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