Tuesday, May 3, 2011

3 May 2006 - Hearts Break The Old Firm

On 3 May 2006, Heart of Midlothian secured second place with a 1-0 win over Aberdeen. It was the first time anyone had come between Celtic and Rangers at the top of the table since 1995.

Hearts had started the season with a 12-match unbeaten run in the league that included a 1-0 victory over Rangers. But they remained in second place for the entire second half of season, thanks in part to a critical 3-0 win over Celtic on 30 April. When they faced Aberdeen, Hearts were one point ahead of Rangers with a game in hand, but had to play away at Ibrox the next week in their final match of the season.

Although playing in front of their home fans and needing the win, Hearts struggled to create many opportunities. But Aberdeen center back Zander Diamond literally handed them a lifeline when he was flagged for a handball in the box in the 54th minute. Midfielder Paul Hartley converted the ensuing spot-kick for the game's only goal.

The win put Hearts four points clear of Rangers. So, although they lost to Rangers on the last day, they held on to second place, becoming the first team to come between Celtic and Rangers since Motherwell did it in 1995.

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