Hearts fell to a 2-1 defeat away to Peterhead in the Betfred Cup this evening.
An early Jason Brown header was cancelled out by Kyle Lafferty’s equaliser, but Rory McAllister’s 90th minute penalty won it for the home side.
Ian Cathro made one change from the side that defeated East Fife 3-0 at the weekend, Krystian Nowak replaced John Souttar, who recently returned from a five-and-a-half month injury layoff.
It was the hosts who went closest to opening the scoring after only three minutes. Christophe Berra was penalised for hauling back Rory McAllister on the edge of the box and Willie Gibson stepped up to curl a set piece inches wide of Jack Hamilton’s left-hand post.
It took a goal-line clearance from Jordan McGhee to deny Peterhead an opener two minutes later. Prince Buaben was dispossessed in the middle of the park and the ball was played through to McAllister, who dinked over the onrushing Hamilton but McGhee was on hand to slide in and knock the ball over the bar.
It was from the resulting corner that Peterhead took the lead. Gibson drilled a ball in and Brown rose to power a header into the corner of the net, despite Hamilton managing to get a touch on it.
Hearts went close after 16 minutes when Michael Smith tore down the right before moving the ball into the box for Lafferty, who found Isma eight-yards out but the striker, under intense pressure from the home defence, could only sweep his effort wide.
Two minutes later it was 1-1. Jamie Walker’s ball into the channel found Smith who did well to get to it before it ran out of play, and his first-time cross into the six-yard box was punched into Lafferty’s path by goalkeeper Greg Fleming, and he knocked into the empty net.
McAllister tested Hamilton with a ferocious long-range drive in the 28th minute which the ‘keeper did well to parry away before Smith cleared with the follow up.
At the other end Walker tried a long distance shot of his own, blasting goalward from 25-yards in the 31st minute but Fleming got down to his left to block the ball away.
Hearts nearly took the lead with four minutes of the half remaining when the ball was worked across the pitch from right to left, finding its way inside the box to Isma but he fired inches wide.
There was still time for one last attempt on goal before the half-time whistle. Paul Cairney found himself in space and tried his luck from distance, with his looping effort landing on the roof of the net.
Lafferty spent eight minutes on the sidelines at the start of the second-half after receiving a flying elbow to the face, and he required extensive medical treatment before returning to the action.
Peterhead registered the first attempt of the second period after 58 minutes. Scott Brown worked the ball inside to Jamie Stevenson, who lifted his effort from outside the box a foot or so over the crossbar.
Isma twisted and turned his way into the Peterhead box in the 80th minute, beating every man he came up against until it came time to pull the trigger and great last-ditch tackle saved the day for the hosts.
A minute later the bar came to the rescue. A ball in from the right was met by Walker but his header crashed back off the woodwork.
Disaster struck in the 90th minute when Hearts conceded a penalty, and McAllister struck to send Hamilton the wrong way.
Peterhead: Fleming, Jason Brown, Robertson, Ross, S.Brown, Ferry, Stevenson, Gibson, McAllister (Samson, 90'), Cairney (Jordon Brown, 75') McLean (Smith, 56'). Subs: Hobday, Adams, Lawrence, McCracken.
Hearts: Hamilton, M.Smith, Berra, McGhee, Grzelak, Walker, Buaben (Djoum, 68'), Nowak, Cowie (Martin, 76'), Lafferty, Isma. Subs: Noring, Brandon, Stockton, Currie, Zanatta.
Referee: Matt Northcroft