Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes was in high spirits after watching his side come from behind to beat Hearts as they carried their European form into Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership action.
Sam Cosgrove took his tally for the season so far to eight goals in five games with the opener and the penalty that levelled the scores after goals from Steven Naismith and Jamie Walker turned the tie on its head.
Hearts’ Aaron Hickey was sent off for a second booking before Cosgrove’s leveller and Ryan Hedges fired home the winner five minutes from time.
McInnes said “Before the game we spoke about, coming off the back of a European game, it’s important you accept that there’s a physical element later on in the game. Hearts would have been rubbing their hands at how much we put into the game on Thursday.
“We started very brightly and with a lot of speed and quality. I thought we were in charge of the game then Craig makes a couple of positive substitutions which shows Hearts’ strength.
“At that stage we looked a bit unsettled and I was concerned about the lack of energy in the team. We had it all to do and thankfully our own substitutes had time to have an effect on the game, and we dragged our way to a win.
“I’d have liked to be able to freshen the team up a bit more for today, and I’m hopeful we can get a few more out the treatment room before Thursday.”
Hearts boss Craig Levein had much to be positive about, but wished he could be talking about a winning performance.
“My over-riding feeling is I should be talking about the positives,” he commented. “I’m ruing some poor decision making in the match.
“Aaron is a young kid who’s only played four or five first team matches. He was very good today, but I don’t think he needed to make the tackle for the second booking. He’s a good kid though, and he’ll get better.
“It was a competitive match, and one which I didn’t think we deserved to lose. When the sending off occurred we were on top and looked more likely to score again than Aberdeen looked to equalise. It’s hard to be positive about the future when I’m sat here feeling like I’ve been punched in the gut.”