Jamie Walker sealed a 2-1 victory for 10-man Hearts as Owen Coyle’s home debut as Ross County boss ended in defeat.
In a game peppered with 10 bookings, two of which saw Hearts midfielder Connor Randall sent off, Isma Goncalves shot Hearts ahead in a low-key opening period, but Davis Keillor-Dunn quickly replied for the Dingwall side.
Walker put Hearts in front just before the hour mark with a cool finish in the area and they held on for three Ladbrokes Premiership points, despite a second booking ending the afternoon for Randall.
Coyle’s managerial debut got off to a flying start a fortnight ago thanks to a 2-0 victory at Kilmarnock and he kept faith with the same side as he sought to build on that on his home bow.
But Hearts have enjoyed their trips to the Global Energy Stadium in recent times, earning 10 points from their previous four games there.
In an even opening 20 minutes only crosses from the hosts’ Jason Naismith and the visitors’ Walker had to be dealt with before Walker drilled the ball over the top from 20 yards.
Don Cowie then had a shot at goal from distance, with his low drive flashing inches wide of the left post.
Hearts got their noses in front as they countered following a corner from County. A Michael Smith clearance found Walker and he teed up Goncalves for a cool close range finish past Scott Fox.
However, two minutes later, Keillor-Dunn pounced in the box to convert a cross from Naismith. Suddenly the game had sparked into life.
Hearts made two changes at the break, with Cowie and Harry Cochrane going off and Euan Henderson and Jamie Brandon coming on.
The Gorgie men had the first opportunity of the second half as skipper Christophe Berra’s header was deflected wide by Ross Draper as he met a John Souttar delivery.
Hearts made it 2-1 in the 59th minute when Walker guided the ball into the net in front of the Jambos fans after Kyle Lafferty and Randall had got the ball into the danger area.
However, a second booking after 65 minutes for a challenge on Kenny van der Weg saw Randall sent off by referee Willie Collum.
The visitors nearly extended their lead when Lafferty’s free-kick from fully 25 yards had to be held by Fox.
Substitute Alex Schalk almost hauled County level, but his free-kick from long range was high.
Collum waved away late penalty appeals when substitute Thomas Mikkelsen and John Souttar clashed and Hearts held on for the win.