Aberdeen emerge victorious on historic day for Hearts
Anthony O'Connor's second-half header all-but sealed second spot in the Ladbrokes Premiership for Aberdeen as Hearts brought the curtain down on 103 years of history with a 2-1 defeat.
The substitute restored Aberdeen's nine-point lead over Rangers with three games left, and their 23-goal advantage means it would take a freak set of results for them to be caught.
Adam Rooney had netted his 20th goal of the season in the first half and O'Connor responded instantly after Isma Goncalves levelled in front of 16,522 fans, who witnessed the final match in front of Tynecastle's Archibald Leitch-designed main stand.
The structure was opened with a 2-0 victory over Celtic on August 15, 1914. But its final game before a new B#12million stand is developed in its place was further evidence that there is much rebuilding to do on the pitch as well as off it over the summer.
Hearts had plenty of incentive outside of marking the historic occasion - they have a six-point gap on St Johnstone to close if they are to make the Europa League qualifiers.
But Aberdeen, who were missing injured skipper Ryan Jack, were sharper and more intense in their play in the opening stages.
Andrew Considine headed wide and Jonny Hayes forced a save as the Dons pressed their opponents back, and they took the lead in the 21st minute. Considine won the ball back and Peter Pawlett decided to try his luck from long range, Jack Hamilton could not hold and Rooney was quickly on hand to finish the rebound.
The hosts, who had Aaron Hughes back from injury in a back three with Prince Buaben, could only muster off-target headers from Jamie Walker and Krystian Nowak before half-time.
Aberdeen created the first chance of the second half when Kenny McLean's forward ball exposed a huge gap in the home defence. Niall McGinn's shot was beaten away and Graeme Shinnie hit the rebound wide with his right foot.
Hearts soon threatened from a set-piece but Arnaud Djoum could not divert Lennard Sowah's misdirected shot on target
The hosts were enjoying more of the ball and they levelled in the 61st minute when Liam Smith crossed into a dangerous area. Goncalves beat Ash Taylor to the ball to head home from six yards.
Aberdeen regained the lead inside three minutes. O'Connor, a half-time replacement in midfield for Pawlett, rose to meet Hayes' free-kick unchallenged and looped a header into the corner of the net from 12 yards.
The Dons showed no sign of letting Hearts back into the game a second time and Jambos coach Ian Cathro's decision to replace Don Cowie with Bjorn Johnsen sparked a crescendo of boos.
McGinn, Shinnie and Rooney all missed chances but Aberdeen's narrow lead was enough, and Hearts captain Walker was sent off in the final minute after receiving a second yellow card for a late tackle on Shinnie.