Hearts lost out to Dundee this evening at Dens Park after a 3-1 defeat.
Goals from Jordan McGhee and Danny Mullen had the hosts two up at the break, Andy Irving pulled one back before a Jonathan Afolabi penalty sealed the victory for Dundee.
There were three changes to the side that defeated Arbroath in midweek, with Jamie Walker, Jamie Brandon and Stephen Kingsley coming into the side in place of Michael Smith, Liam Boyce and Andy Irving.
Dundee started the match in aggressive mood, and Shaun Byrne was lucky not to see red for a very late challenge on Steven Naismith inside the opening minute. This translated to their early play as they pressed Hearts high up the park, limiting short passing options in defence.
Charlie Adam was dictating play early on, and an early sign of his danger was posed when his free kick from 25 yards was pushed away. A minute later, Danny Mullen was played through on goal and Craig Gordon produced a stunning stop to deny the striker.
Unfortunately, Hearts fell behind just shy of the 15 minute mark, when Adam was given time and space and curled in a precise ball to the back post for McGhee to nod high into the net.
Hearts briefly threatened a riposte on a breakaway, when Andy Halliday picked the ball up in midfield and raced towards goal, but he dragged his shot wide.
Just after the half-hour, Dundee doubled their lead. Adam was able to weave his way in from the left, managing to hit the byline before chipping the ball to the back post for Mullen to nod home.
Andy Irving was introduced at the interval, and it was through his left foot that Hearts found an opening. Standing over a free kick on the right wing, his wicked delivery bypassed the entire Dundee defence and ended up in the back of the net.
Moments later, Hearts had a chance to equalise. Irving played a long ball over the top and Christophe Berra ran onto it, attempting to head over keeper Jack Hamilton, who gathered near his goal-line. Hearts then had a glorious chance to level when sub Euan Henderson and Naismith played a one-two, with Hamilton making a great save to deny Naismith.
The best chance for a leveller arrived 15 minutes from the end, when a long cross was hooked back into play by Henderson for Stephen Kingsley, but the defender headed the ball over with the goal gaping.
With seven minutes left the hosts were awarded a penalty. A long free kick in wasn’t dealt with, and Berra was adjudged to have pulled his marker to the ground. Jonathan Afolabi stepped up to score past Gordon, as Dundee earned the three points, even surviving a Henderson chance from six-yards when he was stopped by Hamilton.