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Niall McGinn is a true Aberdeen hero, says Derek McInnes

Hearts 1-3 Aberdeen

By Brian Lindsay

Derek McInnes insists no-one should be surprised by Niall McGinn's dazzling display against Hearts after the Aberdeen talisman inspired a 3-1 win at Tynecastle.

The 28-year-old tormented the home side with his pace and trickery, capping his performance with a stunning solo goal as he surged past Blazej Augustyn and Callum Paterson before curling a fine shot into the top corner.

The Northern Ireland international also claimed both assists for two-goal hero David Goodwillie as the Dons cemented their place at the summit of the Ladbrokes Premiership with their eighth league win on the bounce.

The Dons led by three goals at the break, and although Igor Rossi hit back for the hosts in the second half, a full-scale fightback was never on the cards.

McInnes admits he has come to expect heroics from McGinn.

He said: "We shouldn't be surprised by Niall's performance. He's been a consistently high performer ever since I came into this job.

"He contributes so many assists for us - I think he had the most in the league last year - and he has the quality to finish.

"I had a good view of his goal and to find the far corner from that angle was excellent."

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson believes his team's disappointing run of form will serve as an education.

Hopes were high for the season ahead after the Jambos marked their return to the top-flight with five consecutive victories.

However, Neilson reckons three league defeats in a row will provide a sense of perspective, given the capital club were playing in the second tier last term.

He said: "We switched off three times and lost the game. End of story. I think this (run) is a learning curve for us all: players, staff and fans. When you win the first five games, people think, 'We'll do this, we'll do that'.

"But we are a Championship team that got promoted. Eighteen months ago we were wondering if we were going to go out of business.

"The players need to learn to handle playing in big games with big expectations again. We still have a long way to go."

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