Skacel denies Dons
By Peter ORourke
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Hearts were held to a 1-1 draw by Aberdeen in Graham Rix's first game in charge.Hearts were held to a 1-1 draw by Aberdeen in Graham Rix's first game in charge.
Rudi Skacel's second half goal earned Hearts a point to cancel out Jamie Smith's first half opener for Aberdeen.
Aberdeen broke the deadlock on 13 minutes when Smith swept the ball home with aplomb after the Hearts defence had failed to clear a ball into the box.
Hearts tried to hit back and a mistake by Russell Anderson allowed Skacel a sight of goal and he fired in a shot which was tipped round the post by Ryan Esson.
The visitors went close to drawing level right on the stroke of half time when Steven Pressley flicked Saulius Mikoliunas' cross just the wrong side of the far post.
There was still time left in the first half for Smith to add a second for Aberdeen, but his close-range shot flew straight at Craig Gordon.
Hearts drew level on 64 minutes when Skacel's shot deflected off the boot of Gary Dempsey and looped over Esson into the net.
The dangerous Skacel was denied his second goal eight minutes later when his snap shot was kept out by Esson.
Aberdeen almost gifted Hearts a goal on 78 minutes when Esson was forced off his line to clear from Mikoliunas after Chris Clark's mis-hit clearance and the ball fell to Paul Hartley who saw his shot cleared off the line by Barry Nicholson.
The draw leaves Hearts two points adrift of leaders Celtic in the SPL title race.
Click on fixture for full match summary