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Friday, 12 April, 2002, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Hearts fightback downs Dons
Aberdeen's defence cannot prevent Andy Tod's header entering the net
Hearts went into an early lead at Pittodrie
Aberdeen 2-3 Heart of Midlothian

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Two goals in the final three minutes kept Hearts in the hunt for a Uefa Cup place.

It looked like Aberdeen would clinch their place in Europe after Robbie Winters put them 2-1 ahead with 11 minutes remaining.

But Stephane Mahe and Kevin McKenna stepped up to win the game for Hearts.

Andy Tod had given Hearts an early lead, only for Kevin Rutkiewicz to equalise.

Aberdeen handed a debut to 20-year-old goalkeeper Mark Peat after losing both Peter Kjaer and David Preece to injury in the last week.

Kevin Rutkiewicz celebrates his early equaliser
Kevin Rutkiewicz scored the Dons' first goal
Injury to Russell Anderson meant that there was a rare start in defence for Rutkiewicz, while Darren Young returned after suspension and came in for Fergus Tiernan.

Hearts manager Craig Levein made a number of changes, with Thomas Flogel, Gary Wales, Tommi Gronlund and Kenny Milne dropping out.

In came Steven Boyack, Stephen Simmons, Robert Tomaschek and Graeme Weir.

Hearts took the lead in the third minute after a goalkeeping error from Peat.

He advanced off his line as a cross came into the box and Tod sent a looping header into the net from 15 yards.

But Aberdeen hit back with a spectacular finish from Rutkiewicz five minutes later.

Hearts failed to mark the defender as he met a corner on the volley and sent the ball into the far corner of the net.

Darren Mackie was twice denied by superb saves by Antti Niemi after the Dons winger skipped past Tod and fired at the Hearts goal.

Scott Severin sent a shot just wide after beign set up by Ricardo Fuller.

The Jamaican striker should have scored moments later himself but hesitated inside the box and was dispossessed by Jamie McAllister.

Winters put the Dons ahead when he evaded Tod's marking to score from close range.

But a Mahe snap shot brought Hearts back into the game with three minutes remaining.

And McKenna headed a dramatic winner following a cross from substitute Steve Fulton.

Aberdeen: Peat, McNaughton, McGuire, Rutkiewicz, McAllister, Derek Young, Darren Young, Bisconti, Winters, Mike (Dadi 72), Mackie. Subs Not Used: Hutton, Thornley, Clark, Tiernan.

Goals: Rutkiewicz 8, Winters 79.

Hearts: Niemi, Maybury, Tod, McKenna, Mahe, Boyack (Webster 82), Tomaschek (Flogel 71), Severin, Simmons, Fuller, Weir (Fulton 82). Subs Not Used: McKenzie, Wales. Booked: Fuller, Maybury.

Goals: Tod 3, Mahe 87, McKenna 89.

Attendance: 12,467

Referee: M McCurry.

BBC Scotland's Scott Davie
"Aberdeen blow the chance to clinch their European slot"
Hearts manager Craig Levein
"A tremendous rally by the players"
Aberdeen manager Ebbe Skovdahl
"We can only blame ourself"
Links to more Scot Prem stories are at the foot of the page.


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