A primary-half strike from Barrie McKay was sufficient to safe a hard-fought 1-0 cinch Premiership win for Hearts over St Mirren at Tynecastle.
The victory moved the Jambos six factors away from Aberdeen within the race for third place.
Hearts boss Robbie Neilson was despatched to the stand for incurring the wrath of the officers as St Mirren got here on robust within the closing phases.
The Jambos made two modifications to the facet that began the 1-1 draw away to Saints final weekend as Alan Forrest and Cammy Devlin dropped out, with Andy Halliday getting back from harm and James Hill handed his debut after arriving on mortgage from Bournemouth this week.
St Mirren made three enforced alterations to their defence as Ryan Strain dropped out by way of harm and Marcus Fraser and Charles Dunne missed out by way of suspension. Richard Taylor, Declan Gallagher and Ryan Flynn have been all added to the facet.
The Buddies had the primary sight of objective within the tenth minute when the hosts didn’t take care of a nook however Curtis Main’s shot from 12 yards out lacked the facility to hassle Zander Clark.
Hearts had loads of the ball within the early phases however their first correct probability didn’t arrive till the 18th minute when Robert Snodgrass’s free-kick from huge on the left discovered Lawrence Shankland on the again submit however the striker’s header was simply handled by Trevor Carson.
The Jambos went forward within the twenty ninth minute when McKay lashed house a powerful end from the sting of the field after exchanging passes with each Shankland and Halliday within the build-up.
Hearts had an opportunity to double their lead within the forty second minute however defender Taylor threw his physique bravely in entrance of Shankland’s highly effective angled strike from simply contained in the field.
The hosts had additional alternatives to stretch their benefit within the opening phases of the second half however Halliday fired simply over after good work from Alex Cochrane to set him up earlier than Taylor produced one other glorious piece of defending to cease Josh Ginnelly getting a shot away contained in the field.
St Mirren have been on high for a lot of the closing half hour and Greg Kiltie fizzed a shot over from the sting of the field within the sixty fourth minute earlier than fellow sub Jonah Ayunga noticed a low shot tipped on to the submit by Clark six minutes later.
Hearts boss Neilson – who had earlier been yellow carded for dissent in direction of the officers – was despatched to the stand within the 78th minute for making a “spectacles” gesture in direction of referee David Munro after he dismissed Hearts’ claims for handball in opposition to a St Mirren participant.
Saints thought that they had levelled within the 82nd minute when Clark made a shocking double save to disclaim Kiltie after which Main earlier than Ayunga knocked the rebound huge.
Hearts spurned a golden probability to ease the stress within the ninetieth minute when Stephen Humphrys shot huge of a gaping objective after being launched by a go from fellow sub and debutant Garang Kuol, however the Jambos held on in stoppage time for a vital three factors of their quest to complete third.
Hearts’ subsequent Scottish Premiership match is at house to Aberdeen on 18 January.
St Mirren journey to Celtic on the identical evening. Both video games kick off at 7.45pm.