Hearts rescued from relegation by late penalty
A dramatic last-gasp Jamie Hamill penalty meant ten-men Hearts lived to limp on for another day as the Jambos sealed a 1-1 draw with high-flyers Aberdeen at Tynecastle that staves off relegation.
The cash-strapped Jambos, who were docked 15 points at the beginning of the season for entering administration, had given their fans some joy on Sunday when they avoided relegation with a 2-0 victory against Hibernian in the Edinburgh derby.
After a goalless first half, Hearts captain Danny Wilson was given his marching orders for a second yellow card and when Willo Flood converted the resultant free-kick, it looked as if the Edinburgh club's 31-year stay in the Scottish top flight was coming to an end.
However, Hearts were thrown a lifeline in the 87th minute when Shaleum Logan fouled Callum Paterson in the box and Hamill hammered home the spot-kick to give his side a stay of execution.
It leaves Gary Locke's youthful side 18 points adrift of St Mirren at the bottom with just six games remaining and they will be condemned to life in the Championship if they fail to win away to Partick Thistle on Saturday.
"I thought the boys were magnificent and I couldn't be any happier," Hearts manager Locke said.
"There are very few times this season we could say we were disappointed with the lads but in the main they have given everything for the football club and that's all you can ask for as a manager. They've had to learn the hard way at times but they are better players, more disciplined and I feel there has been a big improvement since the start of the season.
"The supporters were unbelievable and got behind the team as they have done all season and I'm just delighted we managed to get an equaliser for them."
Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes, whose side reclaimed second place from Motherwell on goal difference, felt his side should have held on to victory.
"I thought we bossed and dominated the game here tonight up until the last five minutes when the ball was getting thrown forward but we should have dealt with that better," McInnes said.
"In saying that we've had so many real opportunities in good situations and I think we're culpable of not showing enough quality in those situations to go and get ourselves a second and even third goal."
The hosts started brightly at Tynecastle but it was Aberdeen who threatened first with Niall McGinn cutting inside to test Jamie MacDonald with a well-struck shot.
The Dons gradually began to get a grip of the game and keeper MacDonald then spared the blushes of Sam Nicholson after his slip allowed Adam Rooney in on goal.
Hearts were much improved in the second half with Dons keeper Jamie Langfield called into action to palm away a powerful strike from Paterson
However, the Jambos were dealt a double hammer blow in the 74th minute. Captain Wilson was sent off for a second yellow card after a pull on Rooney's jersey and from the resultant free-kick Flood flashed the ball past MacDonald.
Rooney sent a header wide from six yards and Stevenson missed a great chance to equalise before Hearts were awarded a late penalty when Logan brought down Paterson. Hamill kept his cool to hammer home the penalty past Langfield that means Hearts live to fight another day.
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