Boss Derek McInnes today praised Niall McGinn for battling through injury to net an equaliser at Tynecastle.
McInnes confirmed the winger had been struggling with a muscle problem and only passed a late fitness test on the morning of the Premiership clash at Hearts.
Pittodrie physios deemed the Northern Ireland winger was not fit enough to play for an entire 90 minutes.
McInnes opted to name McGinn on the bench in the hope he could be introduced as an impact substitute.
McGinn was brought on late in the first half as a replacement for Zak Vyner.
On-loan Bristol City defender Vyner suffered a shoulder injury.
Vyner will be assessed by a specialist and McInnes fears surgery may be required which could end the 22-year-old’s season.
McGinn salvaged a 1-1 draw for the Reds against the Premiership’s bottom side with a superb free-kick.
McInnes said: “Niall has been struggling with injury for the last few weeks.
“He has had a little calf, hamstring thing.
“It is a nerve thing that has affected his training.
“Niall passed a fitness test on the day of the game but the phyisos said he didn’t have 90 minutes in him. He played 90 minutes against Livingston (2-1 win) when we only planned to play Niall for 60 minutes.
“Niall did not have 90 minutes in him against Hearts but thank God we had him to call upon.
“He has been doing that for years for us now, turning up when the game is screaming for a bit of quality. When we were screaming out for that quality, calmness and decision making Niall was there, as he normally is.”
McGinn’s superb 25-yard free kick came immediately after Hearts had been reduced to 10 men.
Sean Clare received a straight red for pulling back Jon Gallagher as the on-loan Atlanta United attacker broke in on goal.
McGinn’s equaliser was the only moment of real attacking quality from Aberdeen. McInnes started with two strikers, Bruce Anderson and Curtis Main.
McInnes said: “At half time we spoke with a bit of honesty about how we were not passing the ball well enough or showing enough of ourselves.
“We were better when we went back to a more familiar shape with one up when Bruce went up on his own.
“In the last 10 minutes of the game we were devoid of quality, calmness and the right decision making.
“We all became a bit too rushed in what we were doing in sailing it forward and not moving the ball quick enough at times.
“It was in these moments that we had to show a bit more experience, control and composure to get to their goal and get a winner.
“Unfortunately we didn’t do enough to do that.”