Auchinleck Talbot goalkeeper Andy Leishman's penalty joy turned to heartbreak as the Juniors suffered a narrow Scottish Cup loss at Tynecastle.
Leishman saved in the 20th minute as debutant Fraser Mullen notched up Hearts' fourth consecutive penalty miss from four different players.
Both sides missed chances, with the top-flight outfit increasingly nervous.
But Leishman fumbled in a clash with captain Bryan Slaven for Gordon Smith to slot home after 84 minutes.
In the end, it effectively ended the Junior Cup holders' hopes of one of the biggest shocks in Scottish Cup history, although they looked to be hard done-by when Gordon Pope had the ball in the net but was ruled offside by referee John Beaton in stoppage time.
Hearts manager Paulo Sergio had not only given Mullen his first start but handed rare outings to Darren Barr, Andrew Driver, Arvydas Novikovas and Rudi Skacel in a game in which the Scottish Premier League side were expected to outclass their part-time opponents.
Auchinleck, sitting mid-table in the West Superleague, were not hindered by nerves early on, although it was Hearts who looked the more dangerous.
Driver, who was the home side's biggest threat in the early stages, was booked after 10 minutes for a dive inside the box when it was the Hearts winger himself who was doing the shirt-pulling.
Hearts were awarded a penalty when Novikovas collapsed under a Gordon Pope challenge, but Mullen's low penalty was too close to Leishman and the goalkeeper palmed the ball wide for a corner.
Home striker Scott Robinson was lucky not to have been shown more than a yellow card for a high challenge on Keir Milliken, who followed that up with a low drive across the face of the Hearts goal.
Hearts had claims for another penalty waved away when Novikovas went down - it looked like a defender Ricky Robb's toe got the slightest of touches to the ball - and Andy Webster headed off target from the resulting corner.
The home side were ramping up the pressure, but Auchinleck were increasingly dangerous on the break.
Kyle Faulds missed the ball completely with an attempted header in front of goal then Milliken stubbed his half-volley attempt straight at goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald.
Robb cleared from in front of his own goal and James Latta lashed the ball just over his own crossbar, but the visitors survived the barrage to go in all-square at half-time.
David Templeton and another debutant, striker Jordan Morton, who has just finished a loan spell with Cowdenbeath, came on for Hearts at the break in place of Novikovas and Danny Grainger.
The Ayrshire side replaced Milliken with Mick McCann up front but were increasingly camped inside their own half.
Hearts lost Barr to a cut above his eye after 65 minutes, with Gary Glen becoming the Edinburgh side's final substitution following a five-minute wait before the defender exited on a stetcher.
Leishman denied Hearts again, saving well at point-blank range to deny Skacel's thundering effort after being put clear inside the box by Templeton.
However, a mix up between the goalkeeper and substitute Slaven, who has captained Auchinleck to two Junior Cup triumphs, allowed replacement Smith to place the ball into the corner of the net.
Leishman redeemed himself with a save from Templeton before the visitors had what they hoped was a famous equaliser controversially chalked off.
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Live Text Commentary
Full Time The final whistle goes and the game is over.90:00 +7:40 Booking
Booking Booking for Colin Spence for unsporting behaviour.90:00 +7:09
Colin Spence concedes a free kick for a foul on Ian Black. Jordan Morton takes the free kick.90:00 +6:09 Booking
Booking Booking for David Templeton.90:00 +5:33
Fraser Mullen takes a shot. Blocked by Craig Pettergrew. Outswinging corner taken by Fraser Mullen.90:00 +4:18
Alistair Park is caught offside. Jamie MacDonald restarts play with the free kick.90:00 +3:19
Bryan Young fouled by Fraser Mullen, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Bryan Young from right channel, Ian Black makes a clearance.90:00 +2:47
Rudi Skacel concedes a free kick for a foul on Colin Spence. Free kick taken by Craig Pettergrew.90:00 +2:21
Michael McCann is ruled offside. Direct free kick taken by Scott Robinson.90:00 +1:36
The assistant referee signals for offside against Bryan Young. Free kick taken by Jamie MacDonald.90:00 +1:15
David Templeton crosses the ball.89:27 Booking
Booking Jordan Morton receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.89:05
Jordan Morton concedes a free kick for a foul on Colin Spence. Andy Leishman takes the direct free kick.88:51
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Andy Webster by Michael McCann. Ian Black takes the direct free kick.87:27
Gordon Smith takes a shot. Andy Leishman makes a save.86:40
Jordan Morton takes a shot.86:04
Fraser Mullen takes a outswinging corner.85:29
Fraser Mullen takes a outswinging corner.85:04
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Gary Glen by Colin Spence. Ian Black takes the direct free kick.84:49
Unfair challenge on Rikki Robb by Gordon Smith results in a free kick. Rikki Robb restarts play with the free kick.
Assist on the goal came from Jamie MacDonald.83:49 Goal scored
Goal! - Gordon Smith - Hearts 1 - 0 Auchinlec Goal scored by Gordon Smith from just inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Hearts 1-0 Auchinleck Talbot.82:44
Jordan Morton produces a cross,80:53
Rudi Skacel takes a shot. Outswinging corner taken by Ian Black, clearance by Martin McGoldrick. Craig Pettergrew gets a block in.79:23
Effort from inside the area by David Templeton misses to the right of the target.78:43
Inswinging corner taken by Ian Black.77:48 Substitution
Substitution Steven White goes off and Alistair Park comes on.77:10
Unfair challenge on Jordan Morton by James Latta results in a free kick. Jordan Morton takes the direct free kick.76:19
Jordan Morton takes a shot.76:05
Andrew Driver decides to take a short corner.75:53
The ball is crossed by Andrew Driver.74:32
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Ian Black, Craig Pettergrew manages to make a clearance. Jordan Morton gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on James Latta. Free kick taken by Andy Leishman.74:17
Rudi Skacel takes a shot. Save made by Andy Leishman.73:53
A cross is delivered by Gordon Pope, comfortable save by Jamie MacDonald.72:48
The assistant referee flags for offside against Michael McCann. Jamie MacDonald takes the free kick.71:20 Substitution
Substitution Bryan Slavin joins the action as a substitute, replacing Kyle Faulds.66:45 Substitution
Substitution Darren Barr goes off and Gary Glen comes on.63:01
Corner taken by Ian Black, Craig Pettergrew manages to make a clearance.60:47
Outswinging corner taken by Ian Black, save by Andy Leishman.59:33
Andrew Driver sends in a cross, clearance by Gordon Pope. Corner taken right-footed by Ian Black from the right by-line, Andy Leishman makes a save. The official flags Michael McCann offside. Andy Webster takes the indirect free kick.59:18
Fraser Mullen crosses the ball, clearance by Martin McGoldrick.59:09
Darren Barr produces a cross, clearance by Craig Pettergrew.57:24
Free kick awarded for a foul by Kyle Faulds on Ian Black. Ian Black delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from left channel, clearance by Craig Pettergrew.56:36
Foul by Steven White on Rudi Skacel, free kick awarded. Ian Black takes the free kick.56:06
Effort on goal by David Templeton from deep inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.54:38
Direct free kick taken by Ian Black.54:38 Booking
Booking Kyle Faulds is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.54:31
The referee penalises Kyle Faulds for handball.52:28
James Latta is caught offside. Free kick taken by Andy Webster.52:12
Jordan Morton takes a shot. Save by Andy Leishman.51:00
Andrew Driver produces a left-footed shot from outside the penalty area and misses left.50:06
Ian Black takes a shot. Blocked by Rikki Robb.49:53
James Latta crosses the ball, clearance made by Andy Webster.46:23 Substitution
Substitution Michael McCann is brought on as a substitute for Keir Milliken.45:01
The game restarts for the second half.45:01
Outswinging corner taken by Ian Black from the left by-line. Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Ian Black from the left by-line, clearance by Martin McGoldrick.45:01 Substitution
Substitution David Templeton comes on in place of Arvydas Novikovas.45:01 Substitution
Substitution Jordan Morton joins the action as a substitute, replacing Daniel Grainger.45:00 +0:03 Half time
Half Time The half-time whistle blows.44:26
James Latta has a headed effort at goal from just inside the penalty area that misses to the right of the goal.44:02
Ian Black concedes a free kick for a foul on Bryan Young. Gordon Pope takes the free kick.43:07
Corner taken by Ian Black, clearance by Keir Milliken.42:29
Corner taken by Ian Black.42:04
Fraser Mullen sends in a cross, clearance by Gordon Pope.40:50
Arvydas Novikovas delivers the ball, comfortable save by Andy Leishman.40:09
Keir Milliken takes a shot. Save by Jamie MacDonald.39:41
Bryan Young takes a shot.39:22
The ball is delivered by James Latta, clearance by Andrew Driver.38:50
Daniel Grainger challenges Bryan Young unfairly and gives away a free kick. Martin McGoldrick restarts play with the free kick.38:15
Corner taken right-footed by Ian Black, clearance made by Craig Pettergrew.38:10
Andrew Driver crosses the ball, Martin McGoldrick manages to make a clearance.36:32
The ball is delivered by James Latta, Andy Webster makes a clearance.36:14
Scott Robinson concedes a free kick for a foul on Kyle Faulds. Gordon Pope restarts play with the free kick.33:32
Corner taken right-footed by Ian Black from the right by-line, Darren Barr takes a shot. Save by Andy Leishman.32:48
Rudi Skacel takes a shot. Save by Andy Leishman.31:29
Corner from the left by-line taken by Ian Black, Andy Webster has a headed effort at goal from close in which goes wide right of the goal.29:09
Keir Milliken has shot on goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the right-hand upright.28:35
Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Bryan Young, Gordon Smith makes a clearance.28:00 Booking
Booking Scott Robinson is given a yellow card.27:25
Free kick awarded for a foul by Scott Robinson on Keir Milliken. Martin McGoldrick restarts play with the free kick.26:25
Shot from deep inside the area by Ian Black clears the crossbar.25:57
Foul by Kyle Faulds on Ian Black, free kick awarded. Ian Black restarts play with the free kick.23:57
Gordon Smith is caught offside. Direct free kick taken by Andy Leishman.23:16
James Latta crosses the ball, clearance made by Arvydas Novikovas.22:44
Andrew Driver crosses the ball, clearance by Kyle Faulds.20:27 Booking
Booking Gordon Pope booked for unsporting behaviour.19:41
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Arvydas Novikovas from the right by-line, Craig Pettergrew makes a clearance.19:28 Penalty
Power penalty taken by Fraser Mullen saved by Andy Leishman. Hearts 0-0 Auchinleck Talbot.18:26
Unfair challenge on Arvydas Novikovas by Gordon Pope results in a Penalty.17:54
The ball is crossed by Andrew Driver, clearance by Gordon Pope.17:19
Andrew Driver sends in a cross, Craig Pettergrew manages to make a clearance.15:10
Keir Milliken concedes a free kick for a foul on Darren Barr. Jamie MacDonald takes the free kick.14:34
The assistant referee flags for offside against Andrew Driver. Direct free kick taken by Andy Leishman.13:13
Free kick awarded for a foul by Colin Spence on Ian Black. Free kick taken by Fraser Mullen.11:03
Corner taken by Ian Black from the right by-line played to the near post, Gordon Smith takes a shot. Craig Pettergrew manages to make a clearance.9:53
Keir Milliken is ruled offside. Jamie MacDonald takes the direct free kick.9:53 Booking
Booking The referee cautions Andrew Driver for unsporting behaviour.9:10
Kyle Faulds gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Scott Robinson. Direct free kick taken by Darren Barr.7:37
Corner taken by Bryan Young from the right by-line, Gordon Smith manages to make a clearance.6:57
Inswinging corner taken by Bryan Young from the left by-line, Gordon Smith makes a clearance.5:45
Daniel Grainger is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Andy Leishman restarts play with the free kick.5:04
The assistant referee signals for offside against Keir Milliken. Andy Webster takes the free kick.2:27
Corner from right by-line taken by Ian Black.1:51
Andrew Driver produces a cross, Craig Pettergrew manages to make a clearance.0:23
The ball is swung over by Gordon Pope, clearance by Daniel Grainger.0:00
The game begins.
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