Hearts remain 21 points adrift at the foot of the Scottish Premiership after tonight’s 2-1 defeat by Dundee United at Tynecastle.
Goals by Brian Graham and Nadir Ciftci put the visitors in control before Danny Wilson’s header gave Hearts some hope.
Jambos manager Gary Locke had welcomed back David Smith following a knee injury while Dundee United boss Jackie McNamara freshened up his team following their dramatic 3-2 win over St Mirren last weekend, making five changes. Mark Wilson, Sean Dillon, Ryan Dow, Stuart Armstrong and Graham were all restored to the line-up.
The opening goal came after 34 minutes, Dow jinking past a couple of challenges before slipping in Andrew Robertson, who squared for Graham to score into the roof of the net from close range.
Hearts came back into it before the end of the half with Callum Paterson heading over before Ryan Stevenson fired an effort into the side-netting.
United gave themselves a two-goal cushion with 20 minutes remaining as they pounced upon a loose pass from Hearts captain Wilson. Ciftci evaded a couple of challenges before smashing a superb shot past Jamie MacDonald from outside the box.
Hearts’ rally following Wilson’s headed goal from a corner with 12 minutes remaining was simply too little too late and leaves the Edinburgh club edging every nearer to relegation.
Hearts (4-3-3): MacDonald; Paterson, McGowan, Wilson, McHattie; Hamill, Robinson, Stevenson (King 76); Smith (Holt 71), Carrick (McKay 82), Nicholson. Subs: Ridgers, Oliver, McGhee, Beith.
Dundee Utd (4-4-2): Cierzniak; Wilson, Dillon, Gunning, Robertson; Dow, Paton, Rankin, Armstrong (Gauld 71); Graham (El Alagui 79), Ciftci (Smith 90). Subs: McCallum, Souttar, Butcher, Gomis.