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Inswinging corner taken by Paul Hartley.
Nick Blackman takes a shot. Save by Marian Kello.
Eggert Jonsson fouled by Chris Maguire, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Eggert Jonsson.
Derek Young fouled by David Templeton, the ref awards a free kick. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Robert Milsom from right wing, save by Marian Kello.
Nick Blackman concedes a free kick for a foul on Ryan Stevenson. Ismael Bouzid restarts play with the free kick.
Eggert Jonsson is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.
The ball is swung over by Nick Blackman, free kick awarded for a foul by Gary Glen on Steven Smith. Direct free kick taken by Jamie Langfield.
Sone Aluko leaves the field to be replaced by Josh Magennis.
Robert Milsom takes the inswinging corner, clearance made by Ismael Bouzid.
Nick Blackman gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Marius Zaliukas. Marian Kello restarts play with the free kick.
Nick Blackman gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Marius Zaliukas. Marius Zaliukas takes the direct free kick.
Effort on goal by Chris Maguire from just inside the penalty box goes harmlessly over the target.
Effort from deep inside the area by Ryan Jack misses to the left of the target.
Nick Blackman is brought on as a substitute for Scott Vernon.
Chris Maguire takes a shot from 12 yards. Save by Marian Kello.
Stephen Elliott goes off and Gary Glen comes on. The assistant referee signals for offside against Chris Maguire. Marian Kello restarts play with the free kick.
Foul by David Templeton on Sone Aluko, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Paul Hartley.
Chris Maguire produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the goal.
The ball is delivered by Ryan Jack, save made by Marian Kello.
Scott Vernon is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Marian Kello restarts play with the free kick.
The referee blows for offside. Rory McArdle restarts play with the free kick.
Derek Young joins the action as a substitute, replacing David McNamee.
Headed effort from deep inside the area by Scott Vernon misses to the left of the goal.
The ball is delivered by Chris Maguire, clearance made by Eggert Jonsson.
Calum Elliot is brought on as a substitute for Andrew Driver.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Scott Vernon by Marius Zaliukas. Free kick crossed by Robert Milsom, clearance made by Craig Thomson.
The ball is crossed by Paul Hartley, Adrian Mrowiec manages to make a clearance.
Corner taken left-footed by Sone Aluko from the right by-line to the near post, Craig Thomson manages to make a clearance.
Robert Milsom produces a cross, blocked by Ryan Stevenson.
Craig Thomson takes the outswinging corner, Ismael Bouzid takes a shot. Scott Vernon gets a block in.
Craig Thomson delivers the ball, clearance by Andrew Considine.
Paul Hartley fouled by Ryan Stevenson, the ref awards a free kick. Jamie Langfield takes the direct free kick.
David Templeton takes a shot. Rory McArdle gets a block in.
Eggert Jonsson fouled by Scott Vernon, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ismael Bouzid.
Centre by Steven Smith.
Sone Aluko takes a shot. Comfortable save by Marian Kello.
Craig Thomson takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, Marius Zaliukas has a header from inside the six-yard box and clears the crossbar.
Rudolf Skacel takes a shot. Save by Jamie Langfield.
The ball is sent over by Robert Milsom.
Foul by Adrian Mrowiec on Robert Milsom, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Paul Hartley.
Free kick awarded for a foul by Adrian Mrowiec on Chris Maguire. Direct free kick taken by Paul Hartley.
The ball is sent over by Robert Milsom, save by Marian Kello.
The ball is delivered by Steven Smith, clearance by Marius Zaliukas.
Chris Maguire decides to take the corner short.
Steven Smith delivers the ball, blocked by Adrian Mrowiec.
Paul Hartley crosses the ball.
The offside flag is raised against Chris Maguire. Marius Zaliukas takes the free kick.
Ryan Jack concedes a free kick for a foul on David Templeton. Craig Thomson crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left wing, save by Jamie Langfield.
Stephen Elliott has shot on goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
Foul by Sone Aluko on David Templeton, free kick awarded. Marian Kello takes the free kick.
The referee blows for offside. Direct free kick taken by Jamie Langfield.
The referee shows Ismael Bouzid a yellow card for unsporting behaviour. Unfair challenge on Steven Smith by Ismael Bouzid results in a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Steven Smith, clearance made by Marius Zaliukas.
The ball is sent over by Steven Smith.
The ball is sent over by Steven Smith, Andrew Driver manages to make a clearance.
Andy Webster leaves the field to be replaced by Ismael Bouzid. Eggert Jonsson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Scott Vernon. Direct free kick taken by Steven Smith.
Chris Maguire gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Eggert Jonsson. Andy Webster takes the free kick.
Robert Milsom sends in a cross, clearance made by Marius Zaliukas.
Chris Maguire takes a shot. Save made by Marian Kello.
Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Craig Thomson, Marius Zaliukas takes a shot. Blocked by Andrew Considine.
Paul Hartley takes the inswinging corner, save by Marian Kello.
Corner from the right by-line taken by Sone Aluko, Rory McArdle takes a shot. Save made by Marian Kello.
Effort from inside the area by David Templeton misses to the right of the target.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Sone Aluko by Craig Thomson. Jamie Langfield restarts play with the free kick.
Robert Milsom fouled by Adrian Mrowiec, the ref awards a free kick. Paul Hartley restarts play with the free kick.
Rudolf Skacel concedes a free kick for a foul on Rory McArdle. Free kick taken by David McNamee.
Corner taken right-footed by Craig Thomson, Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Rudolf Skacel misses to the left of the goal.
The ball is delivered by Andrew Driver, Steven Smith gets a block in.
A cross is delivered by Robert Milsom.
Short corner taken by Paul Hartley from the left by-line.
Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Paul Hartley, save by Marian Kello.
Sone Aluko takes a shot. Save made by Marian Kello.
Chris Maguire crosses the ball, Marius Zaliukas manages to make a clearance.
Stephen Elliott gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Robert Milsom. Jamie Langfield takes the free kick.
Hartley expects tough test
Aberdeen captain Paul Hartley expects a feisty contest against his former club Hearts but knows he is not guaranteed selection.
Hartley was a member of the "Riccarton Three" alongside Steven Pressley and Craig Gordon who left Hearts in acrimonious circumstances in 2007.
The 34-year-old midfielder was linked with a return to Tynecastle last summer at the end of his contract with Bristol City, but instead opted for Pittodrie.
And the former Celtic midfielder anticipates a tough tussle.
"Any game against Hearts is always an intriguing affair," he said.
"This season they're going really well, Jim Jefferies has done a tremendous job.
"When it's your former club it always adds a bit of spice.
"I had a good time there and hopefully it's a good match."
Hearts could climb above Rangers to third place in the SPL with victory, for 24 hours at least, and Hartley is not surprised by the progress made under Jefferies.
He is focused on regaining his place in Craig Brown's side, having missed the 5-0 win over Kilmarnock through suspension and then being restored only to the substitutes' bench in the midweek defeat of Hamilton.
Hartley added: "It would've been unfair on anybody to get dropped because the boys had a great result against Kilmarnock.
"It was my own doing. There was only one person to blame and that's myself."
Jefferies knows his side could leapfrog Rangers into second place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League with victory over Aberdeen, but his focus remains on wrapping up third place.
Hearts are two points adrift of Rangers, who play St Johnstone on Sunday, and 18 points clear of fourth-placed Kilmarnock.
Hearts have 13 wins from their last 16 SPL games and victory over Craig Brown's Dons will see them move a point above Rangers in the table.
Jefferies believes the prospect of climbing the table will spur on his side, but knows Rangers, who have two games in hand entering the weekend's fixtures, could soon be back above them.
He said: "The fact we could go second on Saturday, albeit for 24 hours, makes it a bigger incentive for us. It would be nice to be in that position, even if just for 24 hours.
"If Rangers go back on top we're still keeping on their coat tails.
"If we get the third place tied up - and it's still not a foregone conclusion - we've got to make sure we can win as many games as we can and then we can see what we can do.
"If we're keeping in touch with them it will give us something to go and play for. Who knows what can happen?
"We haven't been shouting about it (finishing second), but what we've got to do is go and try and achieve it."
Rangers' progress in the Europa League has added to their already congested fixture schedule.
Jefferies believes Walter Smith's side can cope with competing on four fronts, but Aberdeen boss Brown has said Hearts can finish above Rangers this term.
"It's all right Craig saying it, we've got to prove him right," Jefferies added. "The only way to do that is by winning games."
Brown moved to Aberdeen on the eve of the last meeting with Hearts, which Jefferies' men won 5-0 at Tynecastle in December.
The former Scotland boss watched on from the stands that day, but has rejuvenated the Dons and they have climbed to ninth place in the table.
"It's a different team," Jefferies said. "You can forget the 5-0. We started that game fantastically well, but we knew all along that the next time we played them things would be different.
"They're now looking above, trying to make a late run to get into the top six. That speaks volumes to the job Craig and Archie (Knox, Brown's assistant) have done.
"It will be a hard game but we've done well up there in the last two or three games and hopefully we can continue that."
Hearts head to Pittodrie without the suspended Ian Black and Ruben Palazuelos, Kevin Kyle (groin), Calum Elliot (knee) and David Obua (shin).
Lee Wallace (bruised ankle) is doubtful, while Suso Santana could also struggle to be fit.
Hearts spurn golden opportunity
Hearts missed out on the chance to go second in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League after being held to a goalless draw by Aberdeen.
The last time the sides met in December the Dons were hammered 5-0 at Tynecastle, a result which left them at the foot of the table, but this was a much tighter affair.
The hosts created the better chances but found Hearts goalkeeper Marian Kello in fine form, the Czech making two excellent saves to deny Sone Aluko and Rory McArdle in the first half.
The Tynecastle outfit enjoyed more of the play in the second half but rarely troubled Jamie Langfield in the Aberdeen goal.
The Jambos made five enforced changes from the side which defeated Dundee United last weekend as a result of Ian Black and Ruben Palazuelos missing out through suspension and Lee Wallace, David Obua and Suso Santana being out injured.
Andrew Driver, David Templeton, Ryan Stevenson, Craig Thomson and Adrian Mrowiec were all drafted in as replacements.
Paul Hartley returned to the starting line-up for the Dons after being benched for the 1-0 win over Hamilton on Tuesday.
The former Hearts midfielder replaced Derek Young, while Andrew Considine came in for the absent Zander Diamond.
The visitors had their goalkeeper Kello to thank for preventing them going a goal behind inside two minutes when the Czech stopper showed magnificent agility to tip a curling Aluko effort over the bar.
Hearts had a chance to test the Aberdeen rearguard, playing for the first time this season without Diamond, after 12 minutes but Rudi Skacel could not divert his header from Thomson's corner on target.
Dons defender McArdle had to leave the field for several minutes for treatment on a head injury and he almost broke the deadlock on his return with a downward header that was tipped round the post by Kello.
The Jambos were forced to make a change after 30 minutes when Andy Webster limped off and was replaced by Ismael Bouzid. The French-born Algerian had only been on the park for three minutes when he received the first booking of the match for a late tackle on Steven Smith.
Stephen Elliott flashed an effort just wide of Langfield's left-hand post five minutes before the break in a rare Hearts attack.
Hearts signalled their intent soon after the restart with Skacel's blistering strike kept out by a terrific save from Langfield before Marius Zaliukas headed over from a Thomson corner.
Aluko should have done better than shoot straight at Kello when he was fed in by Ryan Jack as the game continued at a relentless pace.
The visitors introduced Calum Elliot after 62 minutes for Driver, who was making his first start of the season, while the Dons replaced McNamee with Young.
The impressive Jack weaved through the Hearts defence with less than 15 minutes remaining but his eventual effort could only find the sidenetting.
The Dons brought on Nick Blackman and Josh Magennis for Scott Vernon and Aluko as they searched for a late winner.
Hearts had a late appeal for a penalty turned down when Templeton fell under pressure from McArdle as the match ended in a stalemate - with both sides missing out on the chance to secure a third successive victory.
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