Hearts 1-1 Hamilton: Jambos fight for a point as Brandon, Levein and MacPhee are sent off
Hearts had teenager Jamie Brandon ordered off plus manager Craig Levein and his assistant Austin MacPhee sent to the stand during a disorderly 1-1 draw with Hamilton at Tynecastle Park.
Goals by Jamie Walker and Xavier Tomas earned the teams a point each, but the three dismissals were the talk of Gorgie at full-time.
Referee Bobby Madden lost control and police and stewards had to intervene at one point during the second half. Brandon's second yellow card for an elbow on Antonio Rojano in the first half set the tone for a tempestuous second 45 minutes.
Levein was sent to the stand, then MacPhee and Hamilton's Darian MacKinnon ended up on the ground inside the Hearts technical area wrestling for a ball which went out of play. Madden sent MacPhee to join Levein after the authorities had moved in to restrain those from both camps who were losing the plot.
Hamilton were seeking their first win at Tynecastle in more than 40 years. Walker's sublime opener put the ten men ahead but pressure paid off for the Lanarkshire side when Tomas headed them level to extend their unbeaten run to six games.
Kick-off at Tynecastle Park was delayed until 3.15pm due to a faulty fire alarm, which led to the entire stadium being avacuated twice between 2pm and 2.30pm. When the action finally began, Hearts immediately looked dangerous down the right through full-back Brandon and winger David Milinkovic.
Hamilton's greatest danger was the former Hearts winger David Templeton. He exchanged passes with fellow forward Antonio Rojano on 11 minutes to prod a shot at goal from 20 yards which didn't trouble the home goalkeeper, Jon McLaughlin.
Play was frequently broken up by niggling fouls but Hamilton did fashion a chance on 24 minutes when Darren Lyon slipped a through pass to Rojano. The Argentine's wayward shot landed in the Gorgie Stand. Temleton's ball across goal with the outside of his foot landed with Darian MacKinnon at the back post only for McLaughlin to emerge and block the midfielder's shot.
The visitors grew in confidence as the first half progressed. When Hearts were reduced to ten men, they would have felt another boost. Brandon had been cautioned for late tackle on Dougie Imrie and received a second yellow for impeding Rojano with an elbow in front of the home dugout.
Referee Madden was by now chief villain in the eyes of Hearts fans. That he at times allowed fouls to go unpunished didn't help their collective mood. Templeton's looping header was tipped over the crossbar by McLaughlin as the interval approached, and it was no surprise to see Esmael Goncalves replaced by Lewis Moore during the break.
Moore made an immediate impact. He was fouled by Xavier Tomas on the edge of the penalty area and, from the free-kick, Walker broke the deadlock in devastating fashion. He stepped forward to curl the set-piece high over Hamilton's wall and into the top corner - then sprinted off for an emphatic celebration.
Levein was ordered to the stand by Madden having protested at decisions. The referee came across to the speak to the Hearts manager, who refused to walk five paces for a chat. He was immediately ordered away as tempers flared and tension rose inside Tynecastle Park. Hearts were certainly fired up and came close to doubling their advantage when Milinkovic's volley bounced narrowly wide.
Chaos broke out again minutes later. MacPhee and MacKinnon wrestled for the ball after it went out of play, resulting in both men landing on the ground. Staff from both teams clashed in the technical area as police and stewards moved in to restore order. Madden opted to send MacPhee to the stand but didn't punish MacKinnon, who was promptly subbed for his own good.
The football finally resumed and Templeton was unfortunate to see his shot rebound off a post before McLaughlin saved Rojano's follow-up attempt. Hamilton continued pushing and it was not a great surprise when they levelled the scores on 69 minutes. Templeton's corner was glanced home by Tomas from around six yards, making for an intriguing finish to a frantic afternoon.
Accies pressed but were held off by determined Hearts defending. When John Souttar cleared another Tomas header off his own goal line, it was sufficient to secure a draw. Madden had to be escorted off the pitch by police and stewards at the end amid ugly scenes.
Hearts (4-2-3-1): McLaughlin; Brandon, Souttar, Berra, M Smith; Buaben, Djoum; Milinkovic, Walker, Goncalves; Stockton.
46: Moore for Goncalves
72: Hughes for Milinkovic
78: Lafferty for Walker
Unused subs: Hamilton, Cowie, Randall, Callachan.
Hamilton (3-4-1-2): Woods; Sarris, Tomas, McMann; Skondrass, Lyon, MacKinnon, Imrie; Docherty; Rojano, Templeton.
58: Bingham for MacKinnon
Unused subs: Fulton, Gillespie, Redmond, Gogic, Donati, Cunningham.
Referee: Bobby Madden.