Hearts were held to a 1-1 draw by Aberdeen in a frantic match at Tynecastle Park this afternoon.
It was a raucous atmosphere in Gorgie as a near capacity crowd filled the stands in the first home match since restrictions were lifted in Scotland.
Liam Boyce opened the scoring for the Jambos from the penalty spot ten minutes into the second half before Funso Ojo levelled with a close range finish.
There was one change to the side that narrowly lost to Celtic last weekend in the Premier Sports Cup, with Stephen Kingsley dropping out of the squad, and Josh Ginnelly coming into the starting XI.
The action was frantic in the opening stages, classic 100mph stuff as is the custom between these two sides, with little in the way of quality or chances to speak of, but Aberdeen fashioned the first opportunity of the match after quarter of an hour.
Teddy Jenks turned well on the edge of his own area and played a neat one-two with Funso Ojo, before slipping the ball wide to Lewis Ferguson. Ferguson played a ball through the defence for Christian Ramirez who shot first time with the outside of his boot, but he was denied by a strong save from Craig Gordon.
At the other end, Hearts came close but by accident rather than design. Michael Smith fed Ginnelly on the right, he attacked Johnny Hayes at left back and his cross was deflected at speed towards goal, with Joe Lewis having to tip it around the post.
There was then a wonderful moment as the stadium rose in the 26th minute to salute the memory of Marius Zaliukas, with scarves being twirled en masse for a full minute. Two minutes later, Ginnelly darted into the area and went down under the challenge of two players but the ball did appear to be won, despite the very loud protestations of the crowd.
The game opened up a lot more in the second half, and Hearts had their first shot on target within a minute of restart. Liam Boyce nodded a ball into Ginnelly’s path, Gino raced towards goal and shot from the edge of the area but Lewis held the shot. There was an even better chance a few minutes later. Andy Halliday whipped a ball into the area that spun into the air. The ball was spilled by Lewis into the path of Mackay-Steven, who sclaffed his effort wide.
Two minutes later, Hearts won a penalty. Halliday slid a ball down the left wing for Mackay-Steven, who got to the ball first and was tripped in the area. Boyce put the ball on the spot and slammed the ball home to open the scoring. Aberdeen attempted to respond, and whipped a few dangerous balls across the face of goal with no takers, but they levelled with 20 minutes remaining. Another ball was flashed across the face of goal and reached Dean Campbell at the left hand side of the area. His first time cross was tapped in at the near post by Ojo.
The final 15 minutes were a mirror image of the first, with players flying into challenges, but no chances for either team despite the five minutes of added time, and both sides settled for a point.
Hearts: Gordon, Smith, Halkett, Souttar, Cochrane, Halliday (Walker'75), Haring, Baningime, Ginnelly (Henderson '93), Mackay-Steven (McEneff '78), Boyce. Subs not used: Stewart, C.Smith, Denholm.