Match ends, Ross County 2, Heart of Midlothian 2.
Ross County 2-2 Heart of Midlothian
Jamie Walker's stoppage-time penalty was saved as Hearts lost second place in the Premiership following a dramatic draw in Dingwall.
Jay McEveley hooked in a shot to give Ross County a half-time lead.
Hearts hit back with a scruffy Bjorn Johnsen strike before Callum Paterson forced the ball in from close range.
Liam Boyce levelled with an 86th-minute spot-kick and then Walker had a chance to win it after he was felled but could not beat Scott Fox.
Hearts, unbeaten in their last nine meetings with County, drop to third, two points behind Rangers.
The hosts have won just once in their last 13 league games but are now unbeaten in their last four.
The late penalty miss will pain Hearts but defeat would have been harsh on either side.
Both showed attacking desire throughout and deserve credit for producing a really entertaining encounter.
McEveley's opener for County contained real quality, not just in the finish.
Chris Routis produced one of several great deliveries, Andrew Davies headed the ball into a busy penalty area and, with his back to goal the former Scotland defender produced a brilliant scissor-kick which dipped under the crossbar.
Spurred on by the goal shortly before the interval, County started the second half strongly, with Jack Hamilton making an impressive double save to deny Michael Gardyne and pushing away a Boyce header.
Hearts persevered though and showed real desire to suddenly surge ahead, although they were aided by some sloppy defending.
Johnsen tried his luck from 18 yards and his weak shot made its way through a packed area, with Arnaud Djoum deflecting it past Fox from close range.
Soon after, Hearts were in front when Paterson took advantage of hesitancy from Davies and Fox to slide in powerfully and hit the net from six yards.
The visitors were almost gifted a third when Fox dallied on the ball from a back-pass, allowing Johnsen to nip in, but the Hearts striker somehow screwed his shot wide when a goal seemed certain.
County rallied again, with Hamilton producing another great save to thwart Boyce.
But the hosts were back on level terms when Hearts substitute Alim Ozturk was penalised for handball, with Boyce emphatically finishing the resultant spot-kick.
The action continued to flow from end-to-end and Hearts could not have wished for a better opportunity to snatch maximum points.
Davies lunged into a challenge on Walker, upending the Hearts midfielder, who took the penalty looking for his fourth goal in four games. However, Fox pulled off a good diving save to make it three home draws in a row for County and three away draws on the trot for Hearts.
What the managers said
Ross County's Jim McIntyre: "We're disappointed that we've not managed to capitalise once we went 1-0 ahead. We had a couple of great opportunities to further our lead.
"We showed great spirit. A crucial save by Fox as you think at that stage it's going to be one of those days again where you've put so much into the game and you're walking away with nothing.
"I was delighted for the players because the effort that we put in and the quality we showed was pleasing. To come away from that game with no points would have been very harsh on us."
Hearts interim coach Jon Daly: "It was definitely an entertaining game. Dingwall is always tough but, as they have done all season, the players have shown great character.
"We're obviously disappointed that we haven't won the game but in saying that, Jack Hamilton has made a few good saves.
"With the week that the players have had and all the speculation that's gone on [about a new manager], to come up here and get a point, we're relatively happy.
"Whoever does come in is going to get a really strong team that should be challenging at the top end of the league."
- 15DaviesBooked at 87mins
- 5McEveleyBooked at 64mins
- 28van der Weg
- 12ChowSubstituted forWoodsat 83'minutes
- 16DingwallSubstituted forDowat 85'minutes
- 10BoyceBooked at 60mins
- 11CurranSubstituted forSchalkat 67'minutes
- 2PatersonBooked at 90mins
- 4RossiSubstituted forOzturkat 77'minutes
- 15CowieSubstituted forBuabenat 85'minutes
- 23MuirheadSubstituted forSammonat 67'minutes
- William Collum
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Ross County 2, Heart of Midlothian 2.
Foul by Alim Ozturk (Heart of Midlothian).
Andrew Davies (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Scott Fox.
Penalty saved! Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian) fails to capitalise on this great opportunity, right footed shot saved in the bottom left corner.
Penalty Heart of Midlothian. Jamie Walker draws a foul in the penalty area.
Penalty conceded by Andrew Davies (Ross County) after a foul in the penalty area.
Attempt missed. Liam Boyce (Ross County) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.
Arnaud Djoum (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Michael Gardyne (Ross County).
Callum Paterson (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card.
Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Alim Ozturk.
Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Kenny van der Weg (Ross County).
Andrew Davies (Ross County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Prince Buaben (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Andrew Davies (Ross County).
Goal! Ross County 2, Heart of Midlothian 2. Liam Boyce (Ross County) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.
Penalty conceded by Alim Ozturk (Heart of Midlothian) with a hand ball in the penalty area.
Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Prince Buaben replaces Don Cowie.
Substitution, Ross County. Ryan Dow replaces Tony Dingwall.
Substitution, Ross County. Martin Woods replaces Tim Chow.
Conor Sammon (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Andrew Davies (Ross County).
Attempt missed. Bjorn Johnsen (Heart of Midlothian) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left.
Foul by Conor Sammon (Heart of Midlothian).
Tim Chow (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Alim Ozturk replaces Igor Rossi because of an injury.
Foul by Faycal Rherras (Heart of Midlothian).
Liam Boyce (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Jack Hamilton.
Attempt saved. Liam Boyce (Ross County) header from very close range is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Foul by Arnaud Djoum (Heart of Midlothian).
Michael Gardyne (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt saved. Alex Schalk (Ross County) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Foul by Perry Kitchen (Heart of Midlothian).
Liam Boyce (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Goal! Ross County 1, Heart of Midlothian 2. Callum Paterson (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jamie Walker with a cross.
Substitution, Ross County. Alex Schalk replaces Craig Curran.