Hearts saw off Rangers to extend their table-topping lead, winning 2-0 at Tynecastle.
Second-half goals from Jason Holt and Jamie Walker gave the Jambos the points in a huge win for the men in maroon.
Robbie Neilson made two changes to his winning side at Falkirk last week; in came Callum Paterson for Jordan McGhee while Jason Holt replaced Prince Buaben.
The opening 20 minutes were nothing to write home about, with neither side testing the other’s goalkeeper. However, the game exploded into life in the 21st minute when Steven Smith was shown a straight red for a studs-up lunge on Paterson.
Hearts began to make the numbers advantage count, enjoying more and more of the possession. However, the men in maroon could not penetrate the Rangers backline.
It was the visitors who were first to make a goalkeeper work. Nicky Law curled a 20-yard free-kick around the wall but Neil Alexander was quick across his line to beat the ball away from danger.
Moments later that feat was reversed. Alim Ozturk fired his own 20-yard set piece on target, with Steve Simonsen blocking the ball behind for a corner.
That move seemed to galvanise the Jambos, with Morgaro Gomis trying his luck from 25 yards, only to see his effort curl inches wide of Simonsen’s left-hand post.
Hearts almost got their noses in front before half-time but were denied by the crossbar. Miguel Pallardo’s cross was met in the box by the unmarked Brad McKay, but his well-placed header was tipped onto the bar by Simonsen.
The second-half started with the now customary sight of Ozturk shooting from distance. He flashed a 30-yard drive across the face of goal and wide, making Simonsen scramble in the process.
Hearts lost the services of Kevin McHattie five minutes into the second-half after he was on the end of a robust Kenny Miller challenge, for which the former Scotland striker received a yellow card. Adam Eckersley slotted into the left-back position to replace him.
Tynecastle erupted in the 56th minute as Hearts took the lead. Paterson’s ball into the box was cleared by Lee McCulloch but ricocheted off Richard Foster into the path of Holt, who blasted beyond Simonsen from the edge of the box.
The Gorgie boys had Alexander to thank for keeping them in front just seconds later. He pulled off a stunning point-bank save from Law inside the six-yard box, with Foster’s follow-up driven off the crossbar.
Hearts continued to press, not content with their one-goal cushion. Substitute James Keatings' tenacity paid off as he robbed his man at the edge of the box, but Walker screwed his shot wide from 18 yards.
Rangers went for broke with ten minutes remaining by flinging on Kris Boyd for Lewis MacLeod. Moments earlier, King’s ferocious right-foot shot from 25 yards flew agonisingly wide of the target.
Walker had another chance to kill the game off with five minutes to go and he did everything right – tearing down the left before cutting in – but shot across goal and missed the target.
Seconds later it was game over. Walker was brought down inside the area by Ian Black, and the Hearts No. 7 duly dusted himself down to send Simonsen the wrong way.
A well deserved victory for Robbie’s boys who now move nine points clear at the top of the Championship.
Hearts: Alexander, Paterson, McHattie (Eckersley, 50'), Ozturk, Gomis, Walker, El Hassnaoui (Keatings, 55'), Holt (McGhee, 84'), King, Pallardo, McKay. Subs: Gallacher, Nicholson, Buaben, Buchanan.
Rangers: Simonsen, McGregor, McCulloch, Mohsni, Wallace, MacLeod (Boyd, 80'), Law, Black, Smith, Daly (Clark, 83'), Miller (Foster, 51'). Subs: Robinson, Templeton, Shiels, Aird.
Referee: Craig Thomson.
Top man: Miguel Pallardo.