Hearts recorded their first away win of the 2008/09 season as Hamilton Accies were beaten at New Douglas Park.
The Jambos bounced back from their midweek defeat on penalties to Airdrie United in round two of the CIS Insurance Cup to make it three wins out of four in the SPL. Both sides went into the match with two wins from their first three matches.
The visitors were first to threaten with David Obua and Andy Driver having shots from distance.
And, after Larry’s Kingston’s effort was cleared for a corner, Hearts carved out an opening goal on 18 minutes. Driver’s inswinging corner was met by the head of Marius Zaliukas at the near post and the Lithuanian defender registered his first goal of the season.
Two minutes later, Hamilton were dealt an injury blow when defender Chris Swailes had to be replaced with substitute James McCarthy.
He almost made an instant impact when his attempted lob was held by goalkeeper Marian Kello, who was making his Hearts debut.
Hamilton were determined to get level before half-time and Tony Stevenson’s crosses were putting pressure on the Hearts defence from set pieces.
David Elebert and Lucas Akins both headed over from Stevenson deliveries before Kello had to look alert to beat away another dangerous cross.
Hearts almost doubled their lead three minutes before half-time when Obua’s header from Michael Stewart’s cross was well saved by custodian Tomas Cerny.
Akins and Joel Thomas had shots off target for Hamilton early in the second half before Driver scored Hearts’ second just before the hour mark. Simon Mensing conceded possession deep inside his own half and Driver worked his way into the box before firing past Cerny.
Hamilton responded with a double substitution as Akins and Thomas were replaced with Derek Lyle and Mark Corcoran.
And substitute Lyle brought the home side back into the game with ten minutes remaining when he met James McArthur’s cross with a glancing header past Kello.
Hearts had the chance to restore their two-goal advantage on 84 minutes after Christian Nade was hacked down by Richard Offiong 25 yards out. Kingston’s first effort from the free-kick crashed against the wall, but he picked the loose ball up and drove into the penalty area before firing wide from a tight angle.
Offiong missed a good chance to equalise late on when he miss-kicked from seven yards out.
Hearts: Kello, Jonsson, Zaliukas, Berra, Wallace, Kingston, Karipidis, Stewart, Driver, Obua, Mole