Hearts 2-0 Hamilton: Steven Naismith and Arnaud Djoum earn Jambos Boxing Day win
Hearts earned three welcome points as goals from Steven Naismith and Arnaud Djoum secured a Boxing Day victory over ten-man Hamilton.
The Lanarkshire club have not won at Tynecastle Park in 41 years since a 2-0 win in 1977, and that run continued thanks to an efficient display by the hosts.
Naismith returned from knee surgery against Aberdeen on Saturday and was back on the scoresheet in his first home outing since the injury. He struck his 14th goal in 22 appearances for club and country this season before Djoum added the second before the break.
Hamilton's Shaun Want was sent off for a second booking with 19 minutes remaining. Craig Levein's side then missed a penalty when Michael Smith hit the underside of the crossbar from 12 yards.
After a sequence of one win in their previous ten matches, this was a much-needed result for Hearts ahead of Saturday's Edinburgh derby against Hibs at Easter Road. Accies were poor overall but there were some mitigating reasons for their disappointing performance.
They were without captain Darian MacKinnon and striker James Keatings due to injury and missed the influence of both. They found themselves retreating straight from kick-off and had a fortunate escape in the opening minutes. The Hearts winger Callumn Morrison evaded his marker, Scott McMann, and delivered a cross to the back post which Naismith stooped to head wide from close range.
The visitors then made an enforced change due to another injury when centre-back Delphin Tshiembe was replaced by the former Tynecastle defender Lennard Sowah. The game was being played mostly in Hamilton's half, with the home side probing relentlessly. The breakthrough arrived on 18 minutes.
Ben Garuccio scampered inside to feed Naismith, who turned to plant a composed finish low beyond the Accies goalkeeper Gary Woods from the edge of the penalty area. Hearts deserved their advantage and could have doubled it when Naismith slipped a quick free-kick through to Steven MacLean on 32 minutes. His shot was off target.
It took Hamilton 40 minutes to test Colin Doyle in the home goal, although the Irishman had little trouble collecting Scott Martin's low drive. Hearts' second did arrive a minute from the interval when Djoum controlled Morrison's cross near the six-yard line and fired it low into the net.
Craig Levein's side pursued a third after the interval and saw both Michael Smith and Morrison come close following the restart. In the 65th minute, they carved their clearest opportunity yet. Naismith sent substitute Sean Clare sprinting through on goal, he squared for Djoum to tap in but Dougie Imrie's recovery tackle did enough to smother the effort.
Hamilton were reduced to ten men on 71 minutes when Want earned a second caution for pulling Naismith down as the Scotland forward threatened to sprint off for goal.
Referee Don Robertson then awarded Hearts' a penalty for handball by Ziggy Gordon under pressure from substitute Jake Mulraney. However, Smith fired the spot-kick off the underside of Woods' crossbar and the ball bounced clear.
That didn't affect the final result as Hearts saw the game out comfortably. Woods' fingertips prevented Olly Lee scoring his team's third goal from 25-yards three minutes from the end, but two was enough to send the home support away contented.
Hearts (4-4-2): Doyle; Godinho, M Smith, Berra, Garuccio; Morrison, Haring (Bozanic 81), Lee, Djoum (Mulraney 74); MacLean (Clare 60), Naismith. Unused subs: Zlamal, Hughes, McDonald, Hickey.
Hamilton (3-5-2): Woods; Want, Tshiembe (Sowah 10), Gordon; McGowan, Taiwo, Martin, Imrie, McMann; Brustad (Boyd 74), Miller (Bingham 53). Unused subs: Marsden, Gogic, Bloomfield, Monlouis.
Referee: Don Robertson.