Hearts manager Robbie Neilson was relieved that a contentious penalty decision did not cost his side victory as he branded Aberdeen’s Lewis Ferguson a ‘diver’.
The Jambos were 2-0 up and cruising when the Dons were awarded a 70th-minute spot-kick after Ferguson fell in the box as he tried to go past Nathaniel Atkinson. The midfielder took the penalty himself and saw it saved by Craig Gordon.
After viewing replays of the incident in his technical area, Neilson immediately went to the fourth official to make his views known and began making a ‘diving’ gesture in the direction of Ferguson.
“It’s a dive,” said Neilson. “I’ve seen it already. At the time I thought it was (a dive).
“I don’t blame the referee. The player has tried to con him and managed to do that.
“It’s just disappointing. I’d like to think the compliance officer will have a good look at it because we dominated the game, creating chances.
“They go up the pitch, con the referee and could have got back in the game.
“If that ball goes in for the penalty, they are back in the game through someone conning the referee. I’m very, very disappointed in it.
“Thankfully Craig has pulled off another top save and justice was done.”
Neilson was pleased with the way his team played as they increased their advantage in the race for third place in the cinch Premiership to 12 points.
“I thought we were dominant throughout the game,” he said.
“We started well and had a couple of chances and thankfully we got the goal eventually. We were pretty comfortable second half. All in all, a good night.”
Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin felt Neilson was wrong to accuse Ferguson of cheating.
“I think it is a wee bit disappointing if Robbie is talking along those lines,” he said.
“He’s won the game fair and square tonight. They were the better team. I have a lot of time for Robbie, we speak quite often but if he has made those comments then I am quite disappointed because Lewis is not a diver.
“There was contact, he went over and Steven McLean thought it warranted a penalty and so be it.
“I think Robbie should focus on the positives of his own team because I thought they were excellent, they played really well and deserved their victory.
“We were nowhere near the levels required. Hearts were better in every department.”