Hearts made it two wins from two at Dens Park this season, beating Dundee 1-0 on Saturday.
Jamie Walker’s second-half strike was the difference between the two teams, though the Gorgie Boys were unfortunate not to have won by a bigger margin.
Robbie Neilson was forced into one change from the side that defeated Partick Thistle last week, with Jordan McGhee replacing the injured Igor Rossi.
The Jambos really should’ve been ahead after only 20 seconds. Liam Smith’s pass inside to Arnaud Djoum was flicked into the path of Jamie Walker, who beat his man and ran through on goal but dragged his effort wide from ten yards.
It was a blistering start from Hearts, who went close again two minutes later. Walker skinned Kevin Holt at the edge of the box before sending over a low cross for Juanma, but his cute backheel was stopped by Scott Bain at his near post.
The pressure continued, with McGhee breaking down the left and sending over an inviting cross which Djoum knocked on with his head, but Don Cowie blasted over the bar at the back door.
Moments later Bain was at his best to keep the scores level, pouncing to deny Juanma’s bullet header from six yards. Then Cowie’s curling cross from the left saw Djoum hit the side netting with a header of his own, as Dundee struggled to contain the adventurous Jambos.
Dundee came more into the game as the first-half progressed, and Greg Stewart was allowed to cut inside and dart towards the byline, but his prod across the face of goal was missed by the unmarked Kane Hemmings.
Smith and Walker were linking well down the right, with Walker weaving his way into the box to cross for Cowie in the 35th minute, but his first-time effort spun inches over the bar.
Hearts did have the ball in the back of the net after 38 minutes when McGhee nodded home from Cowie’s free-kick, but the linesman flagged for offside.
The Gorgie Boys passed up another golden opportunity to take the lead before the half was out. Juanma’s pass out wide was caught by Cowie, whose cutback found Djoum unmarked in the six-yard box but he could only steer the ball wide, missing the target.
The hosts emerged a different side and immediately attacked the Hearts goal, with Neil Alexander pulling off a stunning block to deny Paul McGowan from the edge of the box.
A mix up at the back saw Alexander forced out of his box to clear, but only as far as Gary Harkins, who moved the ball inside McGowan, but with the Hearts ‘keeper off his line the Dundee midfielder could only flash a long-range shot wide of the target.
Dundee were now the ones with the upper hand, creating chances of their own. 51 minutes in and Stewart cut back for Cammy Kerr, but the young striker ballooned his effort over the bar.
One minute later, Hearts took the lead. Djoum’s through-ball saw Walker spring the offside trap, and the winger rounded Bain before floating the ball into the corner of the net.
The Jambos nearly doubled their lead soon after. A ball into the box found Junama, who took a great touch across to run onto and blast goalwards, but Bain made a smart block at his near post.
Juanma was terrorising the home defence. He rounded Darren O’Dea to cut back for Cowie, but again Bain got down to make a brave save and the ball bounced behind.
Alexander and Smith came to the rescue with nine minutes remaining when substitute Rory Loy sprung the offside trap to go one-on-one, but the former made a good stop which allowed the latter to swoop in and clear off the line.
Hearts nearly wrapped the game up with three minutes to go when Walker fed McGhee inside the box, the left-back took a touch inside and drilled low, only to see the ball deflected behind.
A greta win for Hearts who sit comfortable in third, and continue the hunt for second place.
Dundee: Bain, Holt, Stewart, Hemmings, Ross, McGowan, McGinn, O'Dea, Gadzhalov (Wighton, 72'), Harkins (Loy, 76'), Kerr. Subs: Mitchell, Konrad, Meggatt, Low, Arturo.
Hearts: Alexander, L. Smith, Ozturk, Souttar, McGhee, Buaben, Cowie, Djoum, Nicholson (Kitchen, 72'), Walker (Pallardo, 89'), Juanma (Reilly, 76'). Subs: Hamilton, Oshaniwa, Augustyn, Dauda.
Referee: Willie Collum
Top man: John Souttar