Bring on Celtic … Aberdeen could not have discovered their form and a lethal goalscorer at a better time.
A fourth straight win has kept the Dons within three points of league leaders Celtic ahead of the Boxing Day showdown.
With striker Sam Cosgrove now on six goals in four games the timing is ideal for the visit of the defending champions.
The prize is also huge – defeat Celtic and the Reds will move level on points at the top of the table.
Crucially, while the Dons face Livingston away in the last game of a congested and very productive month, Celtic face Rangers away.
Something has to give in the Old Firm clash and the Reds could be in a position to capitalise.
The target is there, the rewards are huge – win the next two games to potentially be sitting clear at the top going into the New Year.
At the start of this month the Dons were in the bottom six – now they could end the month at the summit.
Crucial to the rise has been the emergence of Cosgrove who netted for a fourth successive game.
Secured for £20,000 from Carlisle United in January that is looking like the bargain of the season.
Hearts lined up with five at the back with the emphasis very much on not conceding after the defence imploded in a 5-0 loss to Livingston in their previous game.
That game plan was obliterated in the opening minutes as the burgeoning partnership of Stevie May and Cosgrove orchestrated an early breakthrough. May ran with real intent down the left flank before lifting a cross into the heart of the penalty box.
The delivery was met by COSGROVE who brilliantly directed a header into the far corner beyond keeper Colin Doyle who was at full stretch.
Aberdeen looked dangerous on the attack and came close in the eighth minute when Niall McGinn fired wide at the near post from 12 yards.
Soon after McGinn controlled the ball on his chest, let it drop then volleyed at goal from 25 yards but straight at keeper Doyle.
In the 24th minute the Dons had a goal chalked off when a looping cross from Shay Logan on the right drifted into the far corner. Referee John Beaton disallowed it as Lewis Ferguson appeared to make contact with the keeper on the line.
On the half-hour mark Hearts opted to go short with a free- kick and keeper Joe Lewis had to produce a superb save to deny Steven MacLean.
Aberdeen suffered a blow in the 48th minute when on-loan Derby County left-back Max Lowe was taken off after pulling up with a calf injury. He looks set to miss the clash with Celtic.
His replacement was 17-year-old Dean Campbell who moved to midfield with Shinnie dropping to left-back. With Campbell and Lewis Ferguson, 19, the Dons had two teenagers in the midfield engine room.
The Reds increased their advantage in the 69th minute when McGinn flighted a free-kick into the box and Scott McKenna was dragged to the ground by Christophe Berra.
COSGROVE stepped up and clinically converted.
Moments later there was a flash-point in front of the dug-outs when Naismith appeared to trample on Ferguson’s calf as the teen was lying on the pitch.
There was a melee in the aftermath with a number of players involved.
Referee Beaton booked Naismith and Dons substitute Stephen Gleeson. Naismith should have been red carded.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men in the 85th minute when Demetri Mitchell was dismissed for a second yellow.