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By ESPN Staff
Sep 24, 2006

SPL: Hearts beat Dons to cut gap on leaders

GLASGOW, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Hearts cut the gap on leaders Celtic to three points with a 3-1 win at Aberdeen in Sunday's Scottish Premier League clash with all four goals and a dismissal coming in the last 26 minutes at Pittodrie.

An entertaining game played in heavy rain swung Hearts way in the 64th minute when Christophe Berra touched home the opener after skipper Steven Pressley headed a Paul Hartley free-kick goalwards.

Chilean striker Mauricio Pinilla, who was sent off six minutes from time, rammed a low shot into the bottom corner to make it 2-0 after 76 minutes and Lithuanian midfielder Saulius Mikoliunas drilled a third five minutes later.

A minute after that Aberdeen substitute Dyron Daal pulled a goal back when he fired home a low shot from 10 metres out.

Two minutes later Hearts were reduced to 10 men when Pinilla was sent off for his second booking after kicking the ball away at a free-kick. He was earlier booked for over-celebrating his goal.

Celtic top the SPL standings with 19 points from eight games following their 2-0 win over Rangers on Saturday in the first Old Firm derby of the season.

Hearts have 16 from eight and are second while Rangers remain third on 12 from eight. The defeat left Aberdeen in fourth place with 12 points from their eight games.