Kevin Kyle took advantage of groggy Aberdeen goalkeeper Mark Howard to give Hearts victory in a tousy Scottish Premier League encounter at Pittodrie.
Howard's saves prevented Calum Elliot and Suso giving Hearts a half-time lead they would have just about deserved.
But, having suffered a head knock just before the break, Howard was beaten by a Kyle header a minute into the second half from an Elliot cross.
The keeper was immediately replaced, but the Dons could not recover.
It means that Mark McGhee's side have taken just one point from their last six league matches.
Aberdeen had been able to add some additional firepower to their line-up, including Chris Maguire, free from suspension and fresh from a goal from the halfway line for Scotland Under-21s that has become a hit on the internet.
Kyle (right) scored the only goal in a bruising encounter
Andrius Velicka, the former Hearts striker who has been injured since joining on loan from Rangers, made a surprise first appearance, while Sone Aluko was back from his injury troubles along with former Tynecastle midfielder Paul Hartley.
But the first half was more blood and thunder than goalmouth fireworks with a series of bookings, flailing elbows, tousy challenges and moments of petulance overshadowing any attempts at creativity by last season's two most indisciplined sides in the SPL.
Hearts midfielders Rudi Skacel and Suso both left the field for treatment to bloodied head wounds, while the latter was lucky not to find himself in referee Mike Tumilty's book after stupidly slapping Aberdeen defender Rory McArdle on the back of the head as he left the field for treatment.
Kyle was similarly fortunate after the Hearts striker barged into Zander Diamond behind Tumilty's back after complaining that the Dons defender had over-reacted to a high challenge.
There were, however, moments in a game featuring seven yellow cards that threatened to batter the back of the net - and most of those came from Hearts.
Howard kept his side level with fine goal-line blocks to deny close-range efforts from Elliot and Suso, who had returned to the midfield along with Ruben Palazuelos.
Hearts themselves had sprung a surprise with the inclusion in defence of Velicka's Lithuania team-mate, Marius Zaliukas, who has been sidelined because of a contractual dispute.
The defender was rarely troubled in the first half, although Maguire threatened with a low drive shortly before the break that failed to have the accuracy from the edge of the box that the striker managed from halfway against Iceland on Monday.
Howard received treatment on the stroke of half-time after falling awkwardly under pressure from Kyle and a couple of his own defenders.
The goalkeeper was beaten moments into the second half when an Elliot cross found Kyle unmarked eight yards out and, with the goalkeeper rooted to the line, the Hearts striker's diving header broke the deadlock.
McGhee immediately replaced the obviously troubled Howard with Jamie Langfield and hauled off the ineffectual Velicka for Darren Mackie.
Langfield himself recovered after picking up a shoulder injury saving low at the feet of Skacel, but it was Hearts who were reeling as Aberdeen started to exert some pressure.
Even so, Hearts continued to create the better chances on the break.
It needed a block by Andrew Considine to prevent Kyle finding the net from 10 yards after the striker was found by a low ball from Suso after the weaving winger tricked his way into the box past four defenders.
Suso was injured in that foray and his replacement, Stephen Elliott, immediately headed over when found unmarked by a cross and Ryan Jack headed a Kyle header off the line before the end.
Live text and stats
Saturday, 16 October 2010
21 Howard (Langfield 54)
05 Diamond yellow card
07 Maguire yellow card (Fraser 81 yellow card)
18 Velicka (Mackie 57)
05 Barr yellow card
21 Ismael Bouzid
07 Suso Santana (Elliott 81)
19 Skacel yellow card (Stevenson 90+2)
31 Mrowiec yellow card
09 Kyle yellow card
Ref: TumiltyAtt: 8,999
Attempts on target
Attempts off target
90:00+3:57 The referee blows for the end of the match.
90:00+2:46 Ryan Stevenson fouled by Paul Hartley, the ref awards a free kick. Marius Zaliukas takes the free kick.
90:00+1:35 Substitution (Hearts) makes a substitution, with Ryan Stevenson coming on for Rudolf Skacel.
90:00+0:28 Scott Vernon produces a header from inside the area that goes over the bar.
88:53 A cross is delivered by Ruben Palazuelos, clearance made by Andrew Considine.
88:14 Corner from the right by-line taken by Rudolf Skacel, clearance by Scott Vernon.
88:04 Stephen Elliott crosses the ball, blocked by Rory McArdle.
85:29 Calum Elliot sends in a cross, Kevin Kyle has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the
84:35 Ryan Fraser gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Rudolf Skacel. Marius Zaliukas takes the free kick.
84:35 Booking Ryan Fraser booked.
83:25 Corner taken by Rudolf Skacel, clearance by Zander Diamond.
82:45 Corner taken by Rudolf Skacel, Kevin Kyle takes a shot. Blocked by Ryan Jack.
81:53 Shot from just outside the box by Darren Barr goes over the target.
80:24 Substitution (Hearts) makes a substitution, with Stephen Elliott coming on for Suso Santana.
80:24 Substitution Chris Maguire leaves the field to be replaced by Ryan Fraser.
80:01 Kevin Kyle produces a left-footed shot from inside the area that clears the crossbar.
79:09 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Calum Elliot by Zander Diamond. Rudolf Skacel restarts play with the free kick.
79:09 Booking Zander Diamond is cautioned.
76:50 Darren Barr crosses the ball, Ryan Jack makes a clearance.
76:14 Corner taken left-footed by Rudolf Skacel.
75:48 Suso Santana sends in a cross, Kevin Kyle takes a shot. Blocked by Rory McArdle.
74:51 Rudolf Skacel takes the inswinging corner, Scott Vernon makes a clearance.
74:44 Centre by Darren Barr, Ryan Jack manages to make a clearance.
73:06 A cross is delivered by Sone Aluko, clearance made by Rudolf Skacel.
72:41 Inswinging corner taken by Sone Aluko from the right by-line, clearance by Darren Barr.
72:23 The ball is sent over by Darren Mackie, Eggert Jonsson gets a block in.
72:07 Chris Maguire sends in a cross, Marius Zaliukas makes a clearance.
71:38 Inswinging corner taken by Sone Aluko from the right by-line, clearance by Ismael Bouzid.
71:25 Chris Maguire delivers the ball, blocked by Marius Zaliukas.
69:52 The ball is sent over by Calum Elliot, Ryan Jack manages to make a clearance.
68:48 Scott Vernon concedes a free kick for a foul on Darren Barr. Ismael Bouzid takes the direct free kick.
67:33 Scott Vernon takes a shot. Ismael Bouzid gets a block in.
66:07 Foul by Andrew Considine on Suso Santana, free kick awarded. The ball is sent over by Rudolf Skacel, Effort on goal by Kevin
Kyle from just inside the area clears the bar.
65:11 Zander Diamond takes a shot. Marius Zaliukas gets a block in.
64:28 Foul by Adrian Mrowiec on Chris Maguire, free kick awarded. Andrew Considine takes the free kick.
64:28 Booking Caution for Adrian Mrowiec.
63:29 Rory McArdle concedes a free kick for a foul on Calum Elliot. Free kick crossed by Rudolf Skacel, clearance by Rory McArdle.
62:27 Unfair challenge on Zander Diamond by Kevin Kyle results in a free kick. Jamie Langfield takes the free kick.
62:27 Booking Kevin Kyle goes into the referee's book.
60:47 Marius Zaliukas challenges Darren Mackie unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed by Sone Aluko, save made by
58:09 Rudolf Skacel takes the inswinging corner, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Marius Zaliukas misses to the left of
57:26 Foul by Calum Elliot on Zander Diamond, free kick awarded. Paul Hartley restarts play with the free kick.
56:45 Substitution Darren Mackie comes on in place of Andrius Velicka.
56:35 Ryan Jack sends in a cross.
55:14 Foul by Ismael Bouzid on Andrius Velicka, free kick awarded. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Paul Hartley, clearance
made by Kevin Kyle.
53:18 Substitution (Aberdeen) makes a substitution, with Jamie Langfield coming on for Mark Howard.
53:12 A cross is delivered by Kevin Kyle.
52:10 Unfair challenge on Ismael Bouzid by Scott Vernon results in a free kick. Marian Kello takes the free kick.
50:00 The ball is crossed by Kevin Kyle.
49:02 Rory McArdle challenges Calum Elliot unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ismael Bouzid.
47:45 Calum Elliot delivers the ball, clearance by Paul Hartley.
45:43 The assist for the goal came from Calum Elliot.
45:43 GOAL - Kevin Kyle:Aberdeen 0 - 1 Hearts Kevin Kyle scores a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Aberdeen 0-1 Hearts.
45:01 The referee gets the second half started.
45:00+2:33 The first half comes to an end.
45:00+2:18 Adrian Mrowiec sends in a cross, save made by Mark Howard.
45:00+1:22 Chris Maguire produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the target.
45:00+1:04 Chris Maguire fouled by Eggert Jonsson, the ref awards a free kick. Paul Hartley takes the free kick.
43:44 Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Rudolf Skacel, Zander Diamond makes a clearance.
43:35 A cross is delivered by Kevin Kyle, clearance made by Rory McArdle.
42:57 Effort from outside the penalty box by Adrian Mrowiec goes wide right of the goal.
42:16 Foul by Adrian Mrowiec on Yoann Folly, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Paul Hartley.
41:53 The ball is crossed by Ruben Palazuelos, Rory McArdle makes a clearance.
41:46 The ball is swung over by Ruben Palazuelos, clearance made by Zander Diamond.
40:53 Effort from the edge of the area by Rudolf Skacel goes wide of the left-hand post.
40:30 Scott Vernon gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ismael Bouzid. Ismael Bouzid restarts play with the free kick.
39:48 The ball is swung over by Suso Santana.
37:43 Booking Chris Maguire goes into the referee's book.
36:51 Scott Vernon delivers the ball, Marian Kello makes a save.
35:58 Foul by Calum Elliot on Paul Hartley, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Zander Diamond.
35:04 Suso Santana gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andrew Considine. Direct free kick taken by Andrew Considine.
34:19 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Sone Aluko by Ismael Bouzid. Direct free kick taken by Rory McArdle.
33:42 The ball is swung over by Ruben Palazuelos, Kevin Kyle takes a shot. Mark Howard makes a comfortable save.
30:06 Calum Elliot delivers the ball, save by Mark Howard.
27:52 Inswinging corner taken by Paul Hartley.
27:47 Sone Aluko produces a cross, Marius Zaliukas makes a clearance.
26:45 Free kick awarded for a foul by Rudolf Skacel on Chris Maguire. Free kick crossed left-footed by Sone Aluko, Adrian Mrowiec
manages to make a clearance.
26:45 Booking Rudolf Skacel is given a yellow card.
25:42 Unfair challenge on Sone Aluko by Darren Barr results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Rory McArdle.
25:42 Booking Darren Barr is booked.
25:13 Suso Santana produces a drilled right-footed shot from 12 yards. Save made by Mark Howard.
24:59 Centre by Kevin Kyle.
22:59 Kevin Kyle is ruled offside. Mark Howard takes the free kick.
22:22 Ruben Palazuelos sends in a cross, clearance by Paul Hartley.
21:11 Shot by Scott Vernon from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.
18:08 The ball is sent over by Ryan Jack.
16:01 Kevin Kyle challenges Zander Diamond unfairly and gives away a free kick. Mark Howard takes the free kick.
14:58 Paul Hartley challenges Eggert Jonsson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Ismael Bouzid takes the direct free kick.
13:24 Suso Santana sends in a cross, save made by Mark Howard.
11:45 Free kick awarded for a foul by Paul Hartley on Suso Santana. Free kick crossed left-footed by Eggert Jonsson from right channel,
clearance by Zander Diamond.
10:13 The ball is sent over by Calum Elliot.
9:12 Shot from 20 yards from Kevin Kyle. Save made by Mark Howard.
8:18 The ball is swung over by Chris Maguire.
8:03 Suso Santana delivers the ball, clearance by Rory McArdle.
6:38 Suso Santana produces a cross, clearance made by Rory McArdle.
5:34 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ruben Palazuelos by Chris Maguire. Marius Zaliukas restarts play with the free
4:51 The assistant referee signals for offside against Kevin Kyle. Free kick taken by Mark Howard.
3:53 Suso Santana produces a cross, Kevin Kyle has a header from close range and clears the crossbar.
3:16 Paul Hartley concedes a free kick for a foul on Kevin Kyle. Direct free kick taken by Marius Zaliukas.
1:54 Zander Diamond fouled by Kevin Kyle, the ref awards a free kick. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Paul Hartley from
left wing, Marius Zaliukas makes a clearance.
0:00 The match gets underway.
Live text and data provided by The Press Association.
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