New Hearts boss John McGlynn enjoyed a winning start to the season as St Johnstone were beaten in the SPL curtain-raiser at Tynecastle.
McGlynn, who took over in June after Scottish Cup winning manager Paulo Sergio departed Gorgie after failing to agree a new contract, led the Jambos to victory in his first competitive match, in his second spell at Tynecastle.
In glorious sunshine, the home side almost took the lead after ten minutes when Ryan McGowan looped a header over Saints goalkeeper Alan Mannus.
However, as the ball looked destined to end up in the back of the net, Saints defender Callum Davidson scrambled it off the line with an acrobatic clearance.
The visitors then raced upfield and were unlucky not to break the deadlock. A terrific cross in from the left by Liam Craig was met by the head of Nigel Hasselbaink, but the ball came back off the base of the post.
Davidson was again the saviour for Steve Lomas’s side, clearing an Andy Driver shot when a goal looked certain.
Hearts’ pressure paid off on the half-hour mark. David Templeton ran 30 yards with the ball, beating at least five players before Saints captain Dave MacKay brought him down six yards out.
Striker John Sutton confidently stroked home the penalty, his first competitive goal since returning to Hearts from a loan spell at Central Coast Mariners.
There was further pain for Saints six minutes later when striker Gregory Tade clashed with home defender Andy Webster. Referee Stevie O’Reilly decided the striker’s actions were too aggressive and a straight red card was shown, much to the disgust of Tade and his manager.
Lomas made an immediate tactical switch, with midfielder Pat Cregg being sacrificed and new signing Rowan Vine thrown on from the bench.
And, despite being down to ten men, Saints kept pushing forward with Hearts goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald forced into a couple of decent stops from Hasselbaink and Craig.
The hosts were eager to find that killer second goal to kill off any challenge from the visitors. Winger Templeton forced Mannus into a decent stop which he had to force wide.
Impressive Templeton didn’t have to wait too long for a goal, however, to cap an exceptional individual performance. He latched on to a through ball from Mehdi Taouil with eight minutes remaining and curled a shot into the bottom right corner beyond Mannus.
Hearts: MacDonald, McHattie, Paterson, Webster, Barr, Zaliukas, Templeton, Robinson, Sutton, McGowan, Driver.