Hearts were held to a 1-1 draw by Hamilton Accies in an incident-packed match at Tynecastle.
Jamie Brandon’s first-half red card made life difficult for the Jambos but they took the lead through Jamie Walker’s stunning free-kick. Xavier Tomas’s header earned a share of the spoils in a bruising encounter that saw both Craig Levein and Austin MacPhee sent to the stand.
Craig Levein made two changes from the side that drew with Ross County last week; John Souttar returned from injury to replace Aaron Hughes, while Prince Buaben slotted in for Harry Cochrane.
The Jambos went close after only four minutes. David Milinkovic skinned Scott McMann on the right touchline before darting forward into the Accies box, only to see his cutback fall to the feet of Georgios Sarris who hoofed clear.
David Templeton and Antonio Rojano combined well in the 11th minute with the latter teeing up the former 20-yards out from goal, but the ex-Hearts winger’s shot with the outside of his boot was gathered easily by Jon McLaughlin.
Michael Smith showed great determination in the 21st minute to dispossess Darian MacKinnon and feed Buaben, who slipped a delightful ball through for Cole Stockton to chase, but Gary Woods was quick off his line to smother the danger a second ahead of the Hearts frontman.
Accies should’ve done better three minutes later as they carved open the Hearts defence, with Darren Lyon laying off Rojano inside the box, but from an angle the Argentinian blasted wildly over the bar.
A ball across the face of Hearts’ goal on the half hour mark caused a scramble at the far post, with the ball eventually breaking to Lyon but his low drive was beaten away by McLaughlin.
Five minutes later Hearts were reduced to ten men. Rojano went down clutching his face after being held off by Brandon, and referee Bobby Madden showed him a second yellow, followed by a red, to the disgust of the home support.
McLaughlin was at full stretch to tip Templeton’s header over the bar with four minutes remaining of the first half, after Ioannis Skondrass had skinned Smith on the byline to send over a teasing cross to the edge of the box.
Before the half was out Templeton went on a run down the right, cutting inside at the edge of the box and firing clean across the face of goal, missing the target by yards.
The second half started with a bang as Hearts took the lead in spectacular fashion. Substitute Lewis Moore won a free-kick 20-yards out, and up stepped Walker to curl a sublime set piece over the wall and into the top corner.
A delightful bit of skill from Milinkovic in the 54th minute saw the French/Serb play keepy-uppy 25-yards out before smashing a half-volley inches wide of Woods’ right-hand post.
In the space of ten minutes the referee sent both Craig Levein and Austin MacPhee to the stands, the latter after being bundled over by MacKinnon in his own technical area. Immediately after the subsequent melee, MacKinnon was subbed by own his bench after Madden decided against taking any action.
The post denied Accies a 64th minute equaliser. Templeton collected a loose ball and ran through the middle before drilling off McLaughlin’s right-hand post, but with the goal at his mercy Rojano saw his follow up tipped over the bar by the Hearts ‘keeper.
Five minutes later the equaliser was scored. A corner from the right was met by Tomas, who guided his header into the bottom corner of the net.
Both teams pressed for the winner and Accies had a chance with five minutes remaining when Bingham turned and hit a shot on target, but it was straight at McLaughlin.
A stunning flying save from McLaughlin denied Skondrass a certain goal with minutes remaining, with substitute Aaron Hughes perfectly placed to clear off the line.
Hearts: McLaughlin, M.Smith, Souttar, Berra, Walker (Lafferty, 79'), Buaben, Djoum, Milinkovic (Hughes, 72'), Stockton, Brandon, Isma (Moore, 46'). Subs: Hamilton, Cowie, Randall, Callachan.
Hamilton Accies: Woods, Skondrass, McMann, Tomas, Imrie, Docherty (Redmond, 87'), Templeton, MacKinnon (Bingham, 57'), Rojano, Lyon, Sarris. Subs: Fulton, Gillespie, Gogic, Donati, Cunningham.
Referee: Bobby Madden