Queen of the South 0-3 Heart of Midlothian
Hearts left Dumfries with all-three points on Saturday after a hard-fought 3-0 win over Queen of the South.
Despite being on the back-foot for a spell in the first-half, the Jambos went in 2-0 up at the break thanks to an Osman Sow wonderstrike and a clever run and finish from Prince Buaben. Jordan McGhee wrapped up proceedings with a close-range second-half goal.
Robbie Neilson made three changes to the side that rolled over Livingston last week; Adam Eckersley and McGhee replaced Kevin McHattie and Callum Paterson respectively, while Billy King came in for Sam Nicholson.
The opening five minutes saw Hearts dominate. Billy King's poor cutback evaded Prince Buaben inside the home box, while Jamie Walker blasted over from 10 yards after creating space for himself at the edge of the box.
Yet it was Queen of the South who passed up the first golden opportunity to take the lead. A slack Hearts pass saw Gavin Reilly pick up possession and drive towards goal, driving a low, 15-yard effort just wide of Neil Alexander's left-hand post.
Moments later Queens rattled that post. Andrew Dowie rose to meet a corner from the left, but his header cannoned back off the post to save the Jambos' blushes.
Sow was proving to be a handful for the Queens defence, and in the 12th minute he brought out a smart stop from Zander Clark after Walker had slipped him through, but the Swede's powerful drive was blocked by the Queens 'keeper at his near post.
A moment of real quality broke the deadlock and it was courtesy of Sow in the 38th minute. Danny Wilson's long ball forward was taken down by the striker, who spun and lashed a shot in off the crossbar from all of 20-yards. Queens players insisted that the ball hadn't crossed the line but referee Brian Colvin showed no hesitation in awarding it.
Three minutes later it was 2-0 and again, it was through another moment of quality. Prince Buaben carried the ball forward, holding off three home challenges before stabbing the ball beyond Clark from the edge of the box.
Hearts could've had a penalty early in the second-half when Walker looked to have been brought down by Kevin Holt as he raced to the by-line, but much the referee said no - much to the dismay of the 3,000 travelling support.
It was 3-0, however, just before the hour mark. Billy King tore down the left before firing over a cross which was side-footed over the line at close range by McGhee.
Despite being three behind, the hosts continued to pass their way up the park. Greg Kiltie forced a great save out of Alexander in the 68th minute when he met a ball at the back post, but the Hearts no. 1 was not for being beaten.
Sow should've grabbed a brace with only minutes remaining, but after an incredible run through the Queens backline he fired into the side netting from five yards out. Clark then produced a stunning diving save to tip Sow's effort from the edge of the box around the post.
In the end, Hearts were worthy victors after spending the majority of the match on top. The men in maroon toyed with their opponents for much of the second-half and Robbie Neilson will happy to head back up the road with the unbeaten run intact and seven wins from eight Championship games.
Queen of the South: Clark, Fowler (Kerr, 56'), Dowie, Higgins, K. Holt, McShane, Kidd, Russell, Lyle (Baird, 67'), Kiltie (Dzierwawski, 63'), Reilly. Subs: Atkinson, Hooper, Slatery, Smith.
Hearts: Alexander, Wilson, Ozturk (Paterson, 81'), Gomis, Walker, El Hassnaoui (Nicholson, 63'), King, Buaben (Pallardo, 78), Sow, McGhee, Eckersley. Subs: Hamilton, McHattie, Holt, Carrick.
Referee: Brian Colvin
Top man: Osman Sow
Today on HeartsTV - EXCLUSIVE post-match reaction from Robbie Neilson.