Hearts fought back to earn a share of the spoils against Dundee United in what proved to be a challenging afternoon at Tannadice.
Liam Boyce got the Jambos off to a flyer with a goal inside the opening minute, but a series of injuries disrupted the tempo and Hearts found themselves 2-1 down early in the second half before Craig Halkett earned the men inmaroon a point with his late header.
Hearts were unchanged from the victory over Aberdeen in midweek and showed why after an opening minute counter attack. Craig Gordon threw it out to Barrie McKay, he drove at goal and squared to Gary Mackay-Steven, who slipped in Boyce and the striker smashed a first time finish in off the post.
The first of five enforced changes for Hearts came soon after when GMS had to be replaced by Alex Cochrane, who was then soon swapped for Andy Halliday after taking a knock to the head.
Before that, Cammy Devlin set up a chance when his through pass was intercepted by Ilmari Niskanen who nearly diverted past Benji Siegrist. From the follow up, Ellis Simms fired over.
Another blow followed when Devlin then had to go off for Peter Haring before the break, while Josh Ginnelly replaced the injured Nate Atkinson at the interval.
After the break, it got worse when Liam Smith rifled in a shot from 25 yards after just ten seconds of the half.
Then, John Souttar brought down Marc McNulty in the area to give United the chance to lead, with Nicky Clark converting. Souttar then had to be subbed off after injuring himself giving away the penalty.
The Hearts shape had to be changed multiple times by now but they kep battling away and probing the Utd defence, and that persistence finally paid off. Simms had a shot diverted for a corner and, after United failed to heed the warning of Haring earlier heading wide, Halkett rose highest to nod home inside the six-yard box.
Results elsewhere meant that the Jambos' lead in third place ultimately extended to 13 points.
Dundee United: Siegrist, Smith, McDonald, Niskanen, McNulty, Clark, Edwards (Neilson, 44'), Butcher, Harkes, Graham, McMann (Sporle, 76'). Subs: Eriksson, Akinola, Meekison, Mochrie. Moore, MacLeod, Cudjoe-Anim.
Hearts: Gordon, Kingsley, Souttar (Sibbick, 60'), Baningime, Boyce, Mackay-Steven (Cochrane, 8' - Halliday, 38'), Atkinson (Ginnelly, 46'), Devlin (Haring, 30'), McKay, Halkett, Simms. Subs: Stewart, McEneff, Woodburn, Moore.
Referee: Willie Collum