Hearts 4 Aberdeen 1: Four-star rout helps to put Romanov in good heart

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The Independent Online

Two devastating spells from Hearts and some dreadful defensive lapses for Aberdeen earned the Tynecastle side victory. With owner Vladimir Romanov in the stands for the first time this season, Hearts produced one of their better displays.

First-half strikes from Andrew Driver and Andrius Velicka had Hearts two goals up inside 14 minutes and, after Jeffrey de Visscher pulled one back, second-half goals from Ibrahim Tall and Christian Nade sealed the win that lifts Heats into the top six.

Aberdeen appeared to suffer a hangover from Thursday night's Uefa Cup draw with Lokomotiv Moscow and only briefly awoke from their slumber to grab a lifeline eight minutes from the break when De Visscher scored. Up until that point their best chance of avoiding defeat appeared to be when the Tynecastle floodlights briefly went out.

Hearts took a third-minute lead when Ricky Foster failed to clear and Driver forced the ball over the line from the ensuing goalmouth scramble via the post from a yard out.

Worse was to follow for the Dons. Driver and Andrius Ksanavicius worked a short corner and, when keeper Jamie Langfield flapped at the cross under pressure from Nade, Velicka bundled in from close range.

Aberdeen scored against the run of play when the former Hearts midfielder Scott Severin launched a diagonal ball over the defence. De Visscher cut inside Jose Goncalves and arrowed a left-foot shot past Steve Banks.

After 53 minutes, though, Michael Stewart's inswinging set-piece for Hearts was wonderfully placed for Tall to power in a header from 12 yards out. Hearts' fourth came when Zander Diamond's block fell to the feet of Nade, who fired home at the second attempt.

Goals: Driver (3) 1-0; Velicka (14) 2-0; De Visscher (38) 2-1; Tall (54) 3-1; Nade (62) 4-1.

Hearts: Banks, Neilson (Zaliukas, 39), Tall, Berra, Goncalves, Driver, Jonsson, Stewart, Ksanavicius, Nade (Beniusis 80), Velicka (Kingston 58). Substitutes not used: Basso, Wallace, Palazuelos, Elliot.

Aberdeen: Langfield, Hart, Diamond, Mair, Foster, Young, Severin, Nicholson (Clark 24), De Visscher (Lovell 70), Miller, Maguire (Aluko 58). Substitutes not used: Soutar, McNamara, Touzani, Considine.

Booked: Hearts: Goncalves. Aberdeen: Young, De Visscher, Severin.

Referee: I Brines (Scotland).

Attendance: 17,122

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