Hearts ran out comfortable 4-1 winners over Falkirk at Tynecastle this afternoon.
A first-half blitz saw Jordan McGhee and a Billy King brace give the Jambos the upper hand, before an Osman Sow penalty rounded off proceedings for the home side late-on. Falkirk managed to pull one back in the 85th minute through Botte Bia-bi.
Head coach Robbie Neilson rang the changes from the midweek Scottish League Cup win over Stenhousemuir, with eight alterations to the starting line-up. James Keatings was paired with Sow up front while Jack Hamilton made his third Championship appearance in-a-row.
The Jambos were first to threaten inside five minutes. King's corner from the right was headed across the face of goal by Danny Wilson, and though David McCracken managed to clear to the edge of the box, Prince Buaben pounced on the loose ball but dragged his shot wide of the target.
It took the men in maroon 17 minutes to get their noses in front. Another King corner, this time from the left, was met by McGhee and he bulleted his header into the top corner of the net.
Falkirk nearly equalised a minute later but Blair Alston's free-kick curled the wrong side of Hamilton's right-hand post.
Hearts were awarded a penalty in the 24th minute when Sam Nicholson showed some delightful skill to skin Alan Maybury, who subsequently brought the winger down inside the box. Keatings' penalty was well saved by Jamie MacDonald but, at the third attempt, King followed up to drill the ball home and give the Jambos a two-goal cushion.
MacDonald produced a great one-handed save to deny Keatings with ten minutes remaining on the half after he was threaded through by Morgaro Gomis, then Danny Wilson headed over unchallenged six yards out.
Minutes later it was 3-0. Keatings floated in a cross from the left and King rose to nod beyond MacDonald for his second of the game.
Incredibly, it should've been 4-0 before the half was out. Sow latched onto a loose ball in the Falkirk defence and rounded MacDonald but could only fire into the side netting at an acute angle.
Keatings was again denied by MacDonald before the half-time whistle following some King trickery inside the box, but the former Hearts 'keeper got down well to smother the danger inside the six-yard box.
MacDonald was at his very best to keep out Nicholson after the restart, the Hearts winger hit a cracking half-volley but the Falkirk no. 1 pulled off a flying one-handed save to push the ball to safety.
Not content with their lot, Hearts continued to press forward in search of another goal. King fired wildly over from inside the box after being teed up by Alim Ozturk then Keatings was again denied by MacDonald.
Hearts had to play the last 18 minutes with ten men after Buaben was shown a straight red for a robust challenge on Olumide Durojayie in the middle of the park.
The men in maroon were awarded another penalty after Sow was brought down from behind when through on goal and the big man dusted himself down to step up and slot past MacDonald.
The visitors pulled a goal back with five minutes to go. Rory Loy skinned Wilson on the bye-line before finding substitute Bia-bi who fired into the roof of the net from close range.
Four Championship wins from four for the Jambos, who hit four goals for the second week in a row.
Hearts: Hamilton, McHattie, Wilson, Ozturk (McKay 65'), Gomis, Nicholson (Walker, 66'), King (Holt, 73'), Buaben, Keatings, Sow, McGhee. Subs: Hollis, El Hassnaoui, Oliver, Eckersley.
Falkirk: MacDonald, Durojayie, McCracken, Vaulks, Taiwo, Alston, Sibbald, Dick (Leahy, 49'), Maybury (Rowan, 68'), Cooper (Bia-bi, 49'), Loy. Subs: Bowman, Grant, Shepherd, Boulding.
Referee: Kevin Clancy
Top man: Billy King