Match ends, Heart of Midlothian 1, Livingston 1.
Hearts 1-1 Livingston: Late Steven MacLean goal rescues point
Steven MacLean's 88th-minute goal salvaged a point for managerless Hearts against Livingston and prevented them slipping to a fourth loss in five Scottish Premiership games.
The draw shifts the Gorgie side - who have made an offer to former Barnsley boss Daniel Stendel - to ninth as one of three teams a point off bottom spot.
Captain Marvin Bartley's first goal in five years looked like earning Livingston a first win since October, but substitute MacLean's late leveller leaves them in eighth place.
Both sides had chances in a frenetic final few minutes, but neither could clinch a last-gasp winner.
'Wretched Hearts show their mettle'
It rather sums up Hearts' wretched state that, after pummelling Livingston for the opening half hour, they lost talisman Steven Naismith to injury, then suffered the ignominy of conceding to Bartley, the former Hibernian colossus and a lightning rod for tumult on derby day.
The loping destroyer at the base of Livingston's midfield was famously fond of a capital city skirmish and even more notoriously goal-shy. His finish, though, was positively ruthless. Hearts couldn't get rid of a long throw and it ricocheted perfectly to Bartley, who swivelled and laced beyond Zdenek Zlamal from point-blank range. Off he galloped to noise up the Hearts fans.
In four seasons at Hibs, he never scored. You could probably count the number of shots he managed on the fingers of one hand. You have to go all the way back to a Johnstone's Paint Trophy victory for Leyton Orient over Northampton Town in November 2014 for a Bartley goal.
You couldn't write it; the latest blow in a torturous Hearts campaign. They had begun with such promise, Jamie Walker, Sean Clare and Naismith taking pot shots before Craig Halkett nodded dreadfully wide unchallenged from six yards out. You'd have put your house on the former Livingston captain - normally so deadly - burying it, but such are things for Hearts just now.
Livingston could smell blood, but were unable to kill off their wounded quarry. Naismith was off - he's only managed eight games of club football this season - and how Hearts can shrivel without his influence.
Scott Pittman and Scott Robinson fizzed around with relentless energy. Stevie Lawless blasted into Christophe Berra when he jinked free in the box and was then thwarted by Zlamal when Aaron Taylor-Sinclair slid him through.
The hosts rocked, but did not wilt. MacPhee threw on Uche Ikpeazu, then Ryotaro Meshino, a combination of muscle and wizardry that hauled them towards their leveller.
The hulking striker drew one comfortable save from Matija Sarkic; Glenn Whelan came a little closer from distance; Meshino closer still when he bamboozled two defenders and rippled the side netting. A tepid second half was bubbling towards its climax.
Ultimately, it was MacLean, Naismith's replacement and a seasoned penalty-box scavenger, who lashed in with two minutes left after Livingston struggled to clear a corner. It was just as soft as Bartley's opener.
Either side could have won it at the death - MacLean with a shot for Hearts, Jon Guthrie with a header for Livingston. No-one stepped up to land a knock-out punch.
These are grim days in Gorgie, the fans desperate for Stendel - for anyone - to arrive and yank them out of this malaise. That's one win in 10 matches. The weight has certainly not been lifted, but at least they showed their mettle.
Man of the match - Marvin Bartley
BBC Scotland's Brian McLauchlin at Tynecastle
Hearts may well have snatched a point but most of the plaudits must go to the visitors. Scott Pittman and Scott Robinson ran themselves into the ground while, at the back, Rickie Lamie and Guthrie put their bodies where others simply wouldn't.
However, man of the match must go to captain Bartley. He may have been fortunate with the ricochet that fell his way for the goal but the finish was one of which many a top striker would have been proud.
He never shirked a tackle from the first minute to the last and he epitomises everything that is good about the this Livingston side.
'We showed huge character' - reaction
Interim Hearts manager Austin MacPhee: "Once you go a goal down to Livingston, it becomes very, very difficult. The players showed huge character to come back into the game and anyone who questions their togetherness, that showed, we nearly won the game late on."
Livingston manager Gary Holt: "A draw was probably a fair result. Yes, disappointed we conceded late on. But when the ball gets lumped into our box as often as it did second-half, sometimes it falls the wrong side for you and that happened from the corner.
"I asked them to be men, go toe-to-toe and I thought we defended the long ball really well today. All in all, it's a good point."
- 22DamourSubstituted forIkpeazuat 56'minutes
- 10WalkerSubstituted forMeshinoat 76'minutes
- 14NaismithSubstituted forMacLeanat 26'minutes
- 23Castro Pereira
- 7JacobsSubstituted forLawsonat 45'minutes
- 27GuthrieBooked at 68mins
- 6BartleyBooked at 8mins
- 10SibbaldSubstituted forErskineat 78'minutes
- 17RobinsonBooked at 55mins
- 8PittmanBooked at 49mins
- 11LawlessSubstituted forOdoffinat 87'minutes
- Greg Aitken
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Heart of Midlothian 1, Livingston 1.
Uche Ikpeazu (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Steve Tevi Lawson (Livingston).
Attempt missed. Steven MacLean (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right.
Sean Clare (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Lyndon Dykes (Livingston).
Foul by Uche Ikpeazu (Heart of Midlothian).
Ricki Lamie (Livingston) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt saved. Jon Guthrie (Livingston) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Foul by Glenn Whelan (Heart of Midlothian).
Jack McMillan (Livingston) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Goal! Heart of Midlothian 1, Livingston 1. Steven MacLean (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner following a corner.
Substitution, Livingston. Hakeem Odoffin replaces Steven Lawless.
Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Chris Erskine.
Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Scott Robinson.
Attempt blocked. Glenn Whelan (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Jamie Brandon (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Jon Guthrie (Livingston).
Foul by Ryotaro Meshino (Heart of Midlothian).
Steve Tevi Lawson (Livingston) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Michael Smith (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Aaron Taylor-Sinclair (Livingston).
Substitution, Livingston. Chris Erskine replaces Craig Sibbald.
Attempt missed. Steven MacLean (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.
Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Matija Sarkic.
Attempt saved. Glenn Whelan (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Ryotaro Meshino replaces Jamie Walker.
Attempt saved. Lyndon Dykes (Livingston) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Corner, Livingston. Conceded by Sean Clare.
Attempt blocked. Steven Lawless (Livingston) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Corner, Livingston. Conceded by Jamie Walker.
Attempt saved. Uche Ikpeazu (Heart of Midlothian) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Jon Guthrie (Livingston) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Jon Guthrie (Livingston).
Corner, Livingston. Conceded by Jake Mulraney.
Foul by Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian).
Lyndon Dykes (Livingston) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Uche Ikpeazu (Heart of Midlothian).