It’s second versus third in the big live Sky TV game in the Scottish Premiership this weekend and Aberdeen will be looking to put on a show for the cameras and extend their advantage over Hearts to seven points.
The Dons beat the rain and swirling winds of storm Desmond that played havoc with a good number of the Scottish fixtures last weekend as they recorded a 2-0 victory over Dundee at Dens Park.
That result also took them to within four points of leaders Celtic, albeit having played a game more, so Derek McInnes’ men can really get the Celts looking over their shoulders if they can pull off a win over the capital side as the Hoops don’t play until Sunday. That would give the leaders 24 hours to sweat over their performance and could see the Reds begin to reapply some pressure in the title race.
Niall McGinn and top scorer Adam Rooney were on target in the first half of a display described as ‘energetic’ by the boss last Saturday and he was impressed by his side’s eagerness and quality at times.
He’ll be looking for a repeat performance to put some clear daylight between the Pittodrie side and their Edinburgh visitors in Saturday’s 12.30 kick-off after recording back-to-back victories to get his team right back on track after a dip in form.
Aberdeen were 3-1 winners at Tynecastle earlier in the season but were in a spell of real form at the time and they’ll be hoping for a similar result.
Hearts saw their game against Inverness Caley Thistle postponed so they’ll have fresh legs ahead of the game after a week’s enforced break which will also allow players extra time to recover from any knocks or niggles.
Robbie Neilson’s men have drawn their last two fixtures against Dundee and Motherwell so will be approaching this one looking to boost their own ambitions of a challenge to Celtic’s reign as although they trail the Dons by four points, they’ve got a game in hand and this game could prove a real six-pointer.
Hearts have drawn four times this season and Aberdeen just twice, so although I have a feeling that both sides would find a point useful from the game, they may both go all out for the win and it could prove a cracking encounter for the television viewer.
Going by the form book you’ve got to fancy Aberdeen just to shade this one and it will take a gutsy performance from the visitors if they’re going to take anything from the fixture, which also acts as a preview and could give a good indication of how the Scottish Cup fourth round tie which will take place between the two sides at Tynecastle on the weekend of the 9th/10th January may go.
The bookies certainly think the Dons have got what it takes to claim three points and they're rarely wrong.
Aberdeen Stats W11 D2 L4
Recent Form DLWDWW
Hearts Stats W9 D4 L3
Recent Form WLWWDD
20/09/2015 Hearts 1 Aberdeen 3
02/04/2014 Hearts1 Aberdeen 1
09/11/2013 Aberdeen 1 Hearts 3
24/08/2013 Hearts 2 Aberdeen 1
18/05/2013 Aberdeen 1 Hearts 1
Aberdeen (4-4-2) –Ward, Logan, Taylor, Reynolds, Considine, Hays, Flood, G Shinnie, McLean, McGinn, Rooney.
Hearts (4-2-3-1) – Alexander, Paterson, Augustyn, Rossi Branco, Oshaniwa, Sutchuin, Lloria, Pallardo, Nicholson, Swanson, Sow.
Aberdeen: Robson (inj)
Hearts: Walker (inj)