St Mirren's relegation torment continues at least for another 24 hours after a thorough beating by Hearts.

Needing a point to ensure Dundee finish bottom, the nervous Buddies fell behind to a blistering strike off the underside of the bar by Jamie Walker.

Kevin McHattie then squeezed a 25-yard free-kick under goalkeeper Craig Samson just before the break.

Jamie Hamill ended hopes of a second-half revival from the penalty spot as Kenny McLean was sent off.

And it means that Dundee will entertain Aberdeen knowing that victory will keep their hopes of a great escape alive for another week.

The cold winds of financial woes continue to swirl around Tynecastle and the home side had to cope with the absence of suspended captain Andy Webster and injured on-loan Liverpool striker Michael Ngoo.

But a youthful Hearts were on fire from the kick-off, inspired by a red-hot atmosphere generated by a near-capacity crowd thanks to cut-price admission.

Fear rather than blood appeared to be running through Buddies veins as John Sutton sent an early strike just wide and a powerful Jason Holt drive almost punctured goalkeeper Craig Samson's chest.

St Mirren, though, should have taken the lead following a cleverly-worked free-kick.

Steven Thompson peeled off cleverly at the back post to head a Gary Teale cross into the path of Lee Mair, but the experienced defender could only find the upper tiers of the packed stand with his half-volley under pressure.

Hearts almost immediately switched play to the other end to take the lead.

Kevin McHattie cracked in a long-range free-kick for Hearts

McHattie cracked in a long-range free-kick for Hearts

Walker gathered 35 yards from goal, thrust past a couple of challenges then unleashed a howitzer off the underside of the crossbar.

With St Mirren's nerves and tempers on edge, manager Danny Lennon showed tactical bravery by hauling off yellow-carded full-back David van Zanten five minutes before the break, with Sam Parkin forming a three-man front line.

That briefly sparked the Buddies into life, but they found themselves two behind when McHattie's low free-kick slipped under a suspect-looking Samson.

With the strong wind now at their backs, St Mirren did hint at a second-half comeback.

Conor Newton, having been switched from midfield to right-back, evaded a couple of challenges before forcing goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald to parry clear and a Parkin header was cleared off the line by Holt.

However, the Buddies' fate was sealed when McLean challenged McHattie and the result was a penalty that looked harsh in itself even without the resulting red card.

Hamill's spot kick arrowed into the corner and Buddies' hearts.

Paul McGowan forced a save from MacDonald and Teale's chip on the rebound was headed off the line by Darren Barr.

There was still time for Hamill to rub salt in Saints wounds with another clearance off the line from a Thompson header.

Three was enough for Hearts, with Parkin's bloodied nose symbolic of a bruising day for a Paisley side still that one point short of ensuring Scottish Premier League safety.

Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (6)

Hearts

  • 01 MacDonald
  • 05 Barr Booked
  • 29 McHattie
  • 02 Hamill
  • 07 Stevenson
  • 10 Taouil (McGhee - 86' )
  • 14 Walker Booked (B King - 81' )
  • 15 Holt
  • 19 McGowan
  • 09 Sutton
  • 37 Carrick (Smith - 64' )

Substitutes

  • 13 Ridgers
  • 28 McKay
  • 44 McGhee
  • 16 Prychynenko
  • 12 Smith
  • 17 Smith
  • 32 B King

St Mirren

  • 01 Samson
  • 02 van Zanten Booked (Parkin - 38' )
  • 03 Dummett
  • 05 Mair
  • 14 McAusland
  • 10 McGowan
  • 17 Mclean Dismissed
  • 21 Teale
  • 24 Newton
  • 09 Thompson Booked (Guy - 74' )
  • 77 Goncalves (Robertson - 59' )

Substitutes

  • 16 Adam
  • 08 Robertson
  • 11 Carey
  • 07 Imrie
  • 19 Parkin
  • 27 Guy
  • 29 J McGinn
Ref: Colvin
Att: 16,312

Match Stats

Shots

14 6

On target

5 4

Corners

3 6

Fouls

5 16

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:03 Full time

Full Time The referee ends the match.

90:00 +1:54

Jamie Hamill fouled by Paul Dummett, the ref awards a free kick. Jamie MacDonald restarts play with the free kick.

87:00

Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Gary Teale, Dylan McGowan makes a clearance.

85:54 Substitution

Substitution (Hearts) makes a substitution, with Jordan McGhee coming on for Mehdi Taouil.

84:14

Effort on goal by David Smith from inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.

80:22

Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Jamie Hamill.

80:22 Substitution

Substitution Billy King on for Jamie Walker.

80:22

Marc McAusland concedes a free kick for a foul on David Smith.

78:29

Direct free kick taken by Gary Teale.

78:29 Booking

Booking Jamie Walker booked.

78:26

Jamie Walker gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Conor Newton.

77:31

Header by John Sutton from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the target.

75:11

Jamie Hamill has shot on goal from a long way out that goes wide left.

73:22 Substitution

Substitution Lewis Guy joins the action as a substitute, replacing Steven Thompson.

72:31

Gary Teale takes a short corner.

71:57

David Smith sends in a cross.

70:21

Paul McGowan handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Kevin McHattie.

68:07

David Smith delivers the ball.

66:18

Foul by David Smith on Paul McGowan, free kick awarded. Marc McAusland takes the indirect free kick.

65:30

Jamie Walker takes a shot. Short corner taken by Jamie Walker from the right by-line. Save by Craig Samson.

63:49 Substitution

Substitution David Smith replaces Dale Carrick.

62:33

Gary Teale has a shot on goal from outside the area which misses right.

61:03

Gary Teale takes a shot. Darren Barr makes a clearance.

60:36

Paul McGowan takes a shot. Save by Jamie MacDonald.

59:42

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jamie Hamill by Jon Robertson. Free kick taken by Jamie MacDonald.

59:25

Dale Carrick is ruled offside. Craig Samson takes the indirect free kick.

58:50 Substitution

Substitution Jon Robertson on for Esmael Goncalves.

57:43

Dale Carrick fouled by Lee Mair, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Mehdi Taouil.

57:15

Lee Mair is penalised for a handball. Jamie Hamill takes the free kick.

54:48

Corner taken by Kevin McHattie from the right by-line.

53:54 Goal scored

Goal! - Jamie Hamill - Hearts 3 - 0 St Mirren Jamie Hamill scores a power penalty. Hearts 3-0 St Mirren.

53:06 Dismissal

Dismissal Kenny McLean is sent off by the referee.

52:25

Foul by Kenny McLean on Kevin McHattie, Penalty awarded.

51:26 Booking

Booking Steven Thompson goes into the book.

50:57

Gary Teale takes the inswinging corner, clearance by Kevin McHattie.

50:38

Corner taken right-footed by Gary Teale, Sam Parkin takes a shot. Jason Holt makes a clearance.

50:03

Conor Newton takes a shot. Save by Jamie MacDonald.

49:43

Gary Teale takes the outswinging corner, Kevin McHattie manages to make a clearance.

48:36

Sam Parkin challenges Ryan Stevenson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Ryan Stevenson takes the direct free kick.

47:50

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ryan Stevenson by Sam Parkin. Indirect free kick taken by Jamie MacDonald.

47:24

Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Gary Teale from the right by-line.

47:17

The ball is crossed by Gary Teale, Darren Barr manages to make a clearance.

46:21

Inswinging corner taken by Kevin McHattie.

45:01

The match restarts for the second half.

45:00 +0:58 Half time

Half Time The referee blows for half time.

45:00 +0:05

Ryan Stevenson concedes a free kick for a foul on Paul McGowan. Free kick taken by Paul McGowan.

42:51 Goal scored

Goal! - Kevin McHattie - Hearts 2 - 0 St Mirren Kevin McHattie scores direct from the free kick. Hearts 2-0 St Mirren.

42:20

Dale Carrick fouled by Marc McAusland, the ref awards a free kick.

38:09

Dale Carrick challenges Lee Mair unfairly and gives away a free kick. Paul McGowan takes the direct free kick.

37:49

The official flags Dale Carrick offside. Craig Samson restarts play with the free kick.

37:23 Substitution

Substitution David van Zanten leaves the field to be replaced by Sam Parkin.

36:08

The assistant referee signals for offside against David van Zanten. Jamie MacDonald restarts play with the free kick.

34:58

Free kick awarded for a foul by Esmael Goncalves on Jamie Walker. Free kick taken by Kevin McHattie.

34:21 Booking

Booking Darren Barr is given a yellow card.

32:53

Kevin McHattie fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick, save by Craig Samson.

32:53 Booking

Booking David van Zanten is booked.

32:46

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jamie Walker by David van Zanten.

30:31

The assistant referee flags for offside against John Sutton. Craig Samson restarts play with the free kick.

30:02

Conor Newton challenges Jamie Walker unfairly and gives away a free kick. Kevin McHattie takes the free kick.

29:27

Centre by Conor Newton.

28:19

Jamie Walker takes a shot.

26:43

Free kick awarded for a foul by Conor Newton on John Sutton. Jamie Hamill restarts play with the free kick.

23:44

Foul by Steven Thompson on Mehdi Taouil, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Jamie Hamill, Effort on goal by Dale Carrick from just inside the penalty box goes harmlessly over the target.

22:58

The assistant referee signals for offside against Gary Teale. Jamie MacDonald takes the free kick.

22:01

Jamie Walker delivers the ball, Headed effort on goal by John Sutton from inside the penalty box misses to the right of the goal.

19:23

Free kick awarded for a foul by Esmael Goncalves on Jason Holt. Jamie Hamill takes the indirect free kick.

17:58

The offside flag is raised against Jamie Walker. Indirect free kick taken by Craig Samson.

16:26

Ryan Stevenson delivers the ball, Craig Samson makes a save.

13:00 Goal scored

Goal! - Jamie Walker - Hearts 1 - 0 St Mirren Jamie Walker scores a goal from the edge of the penalty box to the top right corner of the goal. Hearts 1-0 St Mirren.

11:52

Paul McGowan concedes a free kick for a foul on Ryan Stevenson. Indirect free kick taken by Jamie Hamill.

11:15

Shot from just outside the box by Ryan Stevenson goes over the bar.

9:24

Foul by Darren Barr on Steven Thompson, free kick awarded. The ball is swung over by Gary Teale, Lee Mair takes a shot from close in clearing the crossbar.

7:30

Jason Holt takes a shot. Blocked by Craig Samson.

2:33

Mehdi Taouil fouled by Conor Newton, the ref awards a free kick. Mehdi Taouil takes the indirect free kick.

0:46

Effort from the edge of the penalty box by John Sutton goes wide of the right-hand upright.

0:29

The ball is sent over by Ryan Stevenson, clearance by Marc McAusland.

0:00

The match has kicked off.

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