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Monday 30 Dec 2019
Boys Across the Water | Niall McGinn nets in Aberdeen draw with Hearts

Niall McGinn’s second-half strike sealed a point for Aberdeen as they drew 1-1 against 10-man Hearts at Tynecastle yesterday. 

The 32-year-old’s exquisite free-kick went in off the post as the Dons moved to within a point of Stephen Robinson’s Motherwell in the final Scottish Premiership game before the winter break. 

“I was delighted to get my name on the scoresheet with the free-kick but all in all it is a disappointing afternoon because wanted to come here and get the three points," McGinn told Aberdeen's official website.

“We knew Hearts have been on a poor run recently and wanted the win. We have not done that.

“With us getting a few days off we will go away and enjoy some time with our families,” he added. “We will use the time to rest and recover.

“It is a chance for everyone to recharge the batteries.”

The game was also notable for the return of Hearts’ striker Conor Washington who has missed the last three months because of a hamstring injury.

The former QPR forward made his first appearance for the Jam Tarts since mid-September after coming on as a substitute for the final 14 minutes.

Meanwhile, Stuart Dallas made it two goals in as many games after finding the net in Leeds United’s incredible 5-4 away success over Birmingham City on Sunday. 

In League One, former Glenavon midfielder Mark Sykes scored his first league goal for the club after he hit the winner in their 2-1 victory at AFC Wimbledon. 

The 22-year-old returned to the starting line-up for the visit to AFC Wimbledon and admitted he wants to be a regular starter in the team that currently lies in second-place in League One. 

“I want to be playing every week and today’s performance is the only way you’ve got to show it to the manager.

“You can’t come in and have mediocre performances to prove a point to him, you’ve got to play well and getting on the scoresheet is a bonus.”

With the club now lying in one of the two automatic promotion places, Sykes is adamant that getting to the Championship is their main priority this term. 

“We want to go up this year and there’s no point in me hiding it,” added Sykes, “We know we’ve got the squad to do it. We’ve made five changes, come away to Wimbledon and won.”

Elsewhere in the division, striker Kyle Vassell came off the bench to score only his second goal of the season as Rotherham United clinically disposed of Peterborough United 4-0 at the New York Stadium. 

In the Championship, Paddy McNair was again absent from the Middlesbrough side through suspension, but his fellow midfielder George Saville did weigh in with an assist as Boro sprung a major surprise by beating leaders West Brom 2-0 at the Hawthorns. 

There were also assists over the weekend for St Johnstone winger Matty Kennedy and Ross County’s Billy Mckay.