The fight for second place is now over! After last night’s 1-0 win over the Dons,it will be Hearts and not Rangers who will go into a Champions League qualifier.
The Tynecastle men had more grit and determination than the Dons to make sure that they made Sunday’s trip to Ibrox nothing more than a party !
Aberdeen know now that they cannot qualify for the UEFA Cup but they have had a great end to the season and you have to hand it to Hearts,the Dons nearly did !
Is was quite fitting that perhaps one of Hearts best players this season and a player who nearly moved to Celtic Park in summer scored the goal that takes Hearts to that Champions League qualifier,the man in question Hearts and Scotland mid-fielder Paul Hartley.
Aberdeen had tried to make an impact but you got the feeling from early on that this was to be Hearts night.
Cesnauskis and Skacel had come close for the home side and Barry Nicholson had a header saved by Gordon.
But as the home side continued to press, Russel Anderson could only punch a Bednar flick clear and Stuart Dougal had no option but to award a penalty.The only surprise was the Dons defender was shown a yellow and not red card as most had thought.
After a delay Hartley stepped up and slotted the penalty home to send the Jambo’s wild with delight.
Mikoliunas had a point blank header saved by Langfield and to complete the Dons night of misery former Hearts player Scott Severin was red carded for a bad challenge on Bruno Aguiar.
The atmosphere inside Tynecastle was electric and when the full time whistle went,the strains of the Champions League music could be heard around Tynecastle.
Hearts had done it,they had split the Old Firm and now look forward to the Scottish Cup Final,knowing that both they and Gretna have European football to look forward to.
What a season at Tynecastle and Vladimir Romanov has promised Champions League footballand now he has delivered.Congratulations to both Hearts and Gretna and for the Dons now Champions Celtic on Sunday before planning ahead for the new season.
But congratulations to Hearts,20 years on after blowing the League and Cup double in 1986,they have now got themselves a shot at the big time and atleast two Champions League matches and a Cup Final to look forward to,all those years of hurt may be about to end.
Valdas Ivanauskas 9
For guiding Hearts over the finishing line
Jimmy Calderwood 7
Has worked wonders this season and will do better next.