Heart of Midlothian 1-2 Dundee Utd
Hearts were beaten 2-1 at a rain-lashed Tynecastle by visiting Dundee United on Friday night.
Goals in either half, courtesy of Brian Graham and Nadir Ciftci, ensured that all three points travelled back up to Tayside with Jackie McNamara's men, though Danny Wilson's 77th minute header ensured that the Jam Tarts battled until the bitter end.
The Jam Tarts, playing in Tynecastle's first competitive Friday night match in 50 years, lined-up with only one change from the side that lost at Kilmarnock a week previously, David Smith returned from injury which meant Jordan McGhee dropped to the bench.
Although the visitors had more of the ball in the opening five minutes, Hearts grew in confidence and began to dominate early proceedings. Gaining particular joy down the flanks, the likes of Ryan Stevenson and Kevin McHattie tried to take advantage of the greasy surface with long-range shots, and the latter stung the hands of Radoslaw Cierzniak in the 11th minute with a 35-yard piledriver.
The Jambos made Cierzniak work again after 22 minutes when Callum Paterson fed Dale Carrick at the edge of the box and the livewire striker turned his man to drive in a low shot, though the Utd 'keeper got down well to block the effort.
Dundee Utd edged back into the game, passing the ball around with speed, and made the breakthrough in the 34th minute. Andrew Robertson sprung the offside trap to cut-back for the unmarked Graham, who had the simple job of tapping into an empty net from two yards.
Heads didn't go down, however, and the men in maroon piled forward in search of an equaliser. It nearly came four minutes before half-time as Stevenson marched into the Utd box after receiving a beautiful back-heel from Jamie Hamill, but the No.7 couldn't steady himself and sliced his shot into the side netting from an acute angle.
Robertson nearly went from provider to goalscorer early in the second half, but he was thwarted by Jamie MacDonald. The Utd left back tore down Hearts right-hand side and into the box before firing across the face of goal, but MacDonald flung himself to his left to claw the ball away from the line.
The Tannadice outfit should've doubled their lead in the 50th minute but despite being clean through, Ciftci elected to pass into empty space when either the shot, or the two white shirts standing to his left, looked the better bet.
That second goal did eventually come in the 70th minute and it was indeed for Dundee United. Ciftci was played in from the left and he evaded two Hearts challenges before curling a wonderful 25-yard shot round MacDonald and into the back of net.
Seven minutes later, and in typical Hearts fashion, with the match looking like a lost cause, the comeback appeared on. Sam Nicholson's corner from the left was met by the head of Wilson and the Gorgie skipper powered the ball into the back of the net.
Despite Wilson and Brad McKay piling up front for the remaining few minutes, the equaliser proved too elusive. Hearts now head into the Edinburgh derby next Sunday in what could turn out to be an explosive encounter.
Hearts: MacDonald; Paterson, McGowan, Wilson, McHattie; Stevenson (King, 76'), Robinson, Hamill; Smith (Holt, 70'), Carrick (McKay, 80'), Nicholson. Subs: Ridgers, McGhee, Beith, Oliver.
Dundee Utd: Cierzniak, Wilson, Gunning, Dillon, Robertson, Paton, Rankin, Graham (El Alagui, 78'), Armstrong (Gauld, 70'), Dow, Ciftci (Smith, 90'). Subs: McCallum, Souttar, Butcher, Gomis, El Alagui.
Referee: Bobby Madden
Top man: Scott Robinson