For the second game running, a late goal consigned Hearts Under-20s to defeat as they were edged out 2-1 at Falkirk.
The young Jambos, who suffered late heartache last week in a 3-2 home reverse to Partick Thistle, deserved more from last night’s clash after a fine second-half performance.
Hearts fielded senior players Jack Hamilton, Jordan McGhee and James Keatings in a line-up that also included Gary Oliver.
As the hosts piled the pressure on the Hearts defence in the opening 30 minutes, Hamilton made fine stops from Ryan Blair and Scott Shepherd twice, and blocked further efforts.
Hearts weathered the storm, then Aaron Scott shot narrowly wide and McGhee had a deflected shot saved before the break.
In the second half, Angus Beith fired a shot wide before Falkirk took a controversial lead on 54 minutes. Hamilton and McGhee lost the ball between them but both players were adamant that scorer Kevin O’Hara had pushed McGhee into his team-mate before pouncing on the loose ball.
Hearts responded within 60 seconds, Oliver netting a Scott pass from eight yards.
With the Tynecastle side now on top, Beith fired two shots wide and had another free kick saved.
On 85 minutes, though, the hosts grabbed the winning goal. The Hearts defence failed to properly deal with a corner kick, the ball falling to Falkirk substitute Robbie McNab, who drilled a 25-yard shot into Hamilton’s left-hand corner.
Hearts almost equalised in the final minute, Beith’s free kick saved at full length by goalkeeper Graham Bowman.
Hearts: Hamilton, L Smith, Gordon, McGhee, Henderson, Buchanan, McKirdy, Scott (Flanagan 81), Beith, Oliver (I Smith 84 ), Keatings (Roy 63). Unused subs: Brown, Page.