Boss Stephen Glass praised the mental fortitude of his squad as Aberdeen made it seven points from nine over the past week and ended Hearts’ cinch Premiership unbeaten run into the bargain with a 2-1 win.
John Souttar’s penalty gave the visitors the lead in first-half injury time but Marley Watkins levelled for Aberdeen early in the second half.
Lewis Ferguson’s bullet header proved to be the winner for Aberdeen before he found himself on the end of a challenge that saw Hearts substitute Andy Halliday red carded.
Glass said “We were told going into the last three games we were up against three of the top teams in the league.
“I think the ability of the players, the quality they’ve shown and the mental toughness they’ve shown to come through that has me delighted.
“Walking off at Dens Park didn’t feel great. You’ve got to front it up, keep doing your work and hope it turns and it looks like it has done.
“Players like Dean Campbell and Dylan McGeouch haven’t played a hell of a lot but they put in performances in midweek and followed it up again.”
This was the last of a three-match touchline ban for Hearts boss Robbie Neilson and he was keen to focus on the positives of his side’s start to the season despite the defeat.
He said: “It’s disappointing. We’ve had a brilliant start to the season and we went 1-0 up only to drop three points.
“Any game you don’t create clear-cut chances is frustrating but I don’t think there were many chances in the game and we nullified each other to an extent.
“We didn’t get to the levels we’ve shown previously so that’s the bigger disappointment to me.
“I would say 75 per cent of goals in Scottish football come from set plays so if you’re going to lose goals it’ll be from there.
“Very few teams pass the ball through you and it’s something we’ll continue to work at.”