Hearts continued to eclipse their rivals with a commanding 3-0 win over Falkirk this afternoon.
Jamie Walker set the Gorgie boys on their way to victory with second-half goals from Genero Zeefuik and James Keatings ensuring their relentless march to the title continued.
Robbie Neilson made three changes to his starting line-up following the midweek win at Raith Rovers; in came Adam Eckersley, Jamie Walker and Osman Sow with Kevin McHattie, Sam Nicholson and James Keatings dropping to the bench.
The Jambos passed up a golden opportunity to get in front after ten minutes. Sow slipped through Genero Zeefuik and despite being one-on-one with Jamie MacDonald, the Dutchman could only fire straight at the Falkirk ‘keeper at the edge of the box.
Falkirk had the ball in the back of the net seven minutes later, but Taylor Morgan was flagged offside as he rattled beyond Alexander.
Moments after Morgan successfully sprung the offside trap, but Alexander brilliantly closed down the angle and forced the Falkirk striker to knock behind.
The home side did well to limit Hearts to half chances, with Callum Paterson heading behind from a Billy King corner, as the halfway point in the first-half passed with both sides at a stalemate.
Just before the half-hour mark, Hearts took the lead. Sow burst down the left and cut inside, holding off his man, before cutting back to the advancing Walker who lashed home from ten yards.
MacDonald was at his best to keep the score at 1-0. King knocked the ball sideways to Paterson who cut back from the byeline to find Sow, but his high shot was palmed away by superbly by the ‘keeper.
The second-half started with a bang as Hearts doubled their lead. Eckersley beat his man to byeline and cut inside to Walker, who in turn found Zeefuik inside the box who rifled the ball beyond MacDonald and into the back of the net.
Moments later Falkirk served a timely reminder of how dangerous they could be when Will Vaulks connected with a cross from the left, but he cold only nod behind.
Eckersley was on hand to clear a Falkirk header off the line, as the game entered the final 20 minutes.
Sow then won the ball back from David Smith, and twisted his way into the Falkirk box before pulling the trigger, but lack of power meant MacDonald could gather easily.
Hearts looked dangerous every time they went forward with Walker running riot through the middle. He played a one-two off a blue shirt and burst through on goal but his rocket shot was blocked by MacDonald.
With his second touch of the ball, substitute Keatings made it 3-0. Paterson’s quick ball over the top found the striker inside the box, and he took a touch before curling his effort around MacDonald and into the top corner.
Another fantastic win for Hearts at a tough venue, and now the Championship title is within touching distance.
Falkirk: MacDonald, Duffie, McCracken, Vaulks (Alston, 78'), Taiwo (D.Smith, 53'), Sibbald, Kerr, Grant, Leahy, Baird, Morgan (Biabi, 53'). Subs: Bowman, Dick, Maybury, Cooper.
Hearts: Alexander, Paterson, Wilson, Ozturk, Gomis, Walker (Anderson, 86'), King, Pallardo, Sow (Nicholson, 76'), Zeefuik (Keating, 81'), Eckersley. Subs: Hamilton, McHattie, El Hassnaoui, Mckay.
Referee: Crawford Allan