Hearts 5-0 Aberdeen

19 January 2023

Robbie Neilson made just the one change to the side that defeated St Mirren on Friday night. Andy Halliday missed out through concussion and was replaced by Cammy Devlin. Stephen Kingsley also returned to the matchday squad after a period on the side-lines.

The visitors were fresh off the back of a gruelling 120 minutes against Rangers on a heavy Hampden Park turf on Sunday, so a fast Hearts start looked to be the key to victory, and the Jambos got themselves ahead on 15 minutes.

James Hill’s long throw wasn’t utilised much at all in the victory over St Mirren on Friday, but the on-loan Bournemouth man showed what a real weapon it was. Aberdeen failed to deal with the throw from the left and the ball dropped to Josh Ginnelly, who bundled it in from close range.

Hearts were dominating possession, but most of it was along the back three and looked to have little immediate threat to the Dons goal, or so the visitors would’ve thought, but with one unbelievable pass from Toby Sibbick, the Aberdeen defence was sliced wide open.

Michael Smith had a free reign down that right channel for most of the half with Duk not doing much defending, so when he perfectly controlled a world class pass from Sibbick, he had only Joe Lewis to beat.

The first touch from the Northern Irishman, allowed him to open up his body as he perfectly curled the ball with his left foot past Lewis and into the back of the net.

Things got even better for the men in maroon, eight minutes before the break when a deep Robert Snodgrass corner was sent behind. Referee Willie Collum initially gave a goal kick but after a VAR review it was clear that the ball had gone behind off the arm of Liam Scales.

Lawrence Shankland stepped up and Mr Reliable sent Lewis the wrong way to bag his 19th goal of the season and put the game to bed after just 40 minutes.

A phenomenal first half got even better in stoppage time. Shankland this time turned provider and his low cross was perfect for Ginnelly, who lifted the ball over Lewis to make it 4-0.

Half time: Hearts 4-0 Aberdeen

As ludicrous as it might sound, Hearts have probably played better at times this season, but incredibly, they almost added a fifth, seven minutes into the second half.  Ginnelly was again causing chaos with his runs down the channel and his cross found Cammy Devlin, but his front post flick came back off the post.

Not to worry though, as the little Australian would have his first Tynecastle goal ten minutes later. Devlin found himself furthest forward and with little option other than to take a shot at goal, he let fly and his effort wrong footed Lewis to make it 5-0.

Yutaro Oda came on for his Hearts debut six minutes from time, before Aberdeen had a late Marley Watkins goal ruled out for offside.

Hearts: Clark, Smith (Forrest, 84), Shankland ©, Devlin, Rowles, McKay (Humphrys, 65), Cochrane, Sibbick (Kingsley, 75), Ginnelly (Grant, 65), Hill, Snodgrass (Oda, 84)

Subs: Stewart, Kingsley, Grant, Kio, Atkinson, Forrest, Humphrys, Kuol, Oda

Aberdeen: Lewis, McCrorie, ©, Scales, Shinnie, Miovski, Duk, Ramadani, Hayes, Clarkson, Coulson, Kennedy

Subs: Ritchie, Barron, Besuijen, Myslovic, Watkins, Duncan, Polvara, Richardson, Bavidge