Match ends, Heart of Midlothian 4, Hamilton Academical 0.
Hearts 4-0 Hamilton Academical
Hearts produced a slick display to cruise past struggling Hamilton and snap a five-game winless run.
Accies keeper Gary Woods was inspired for 40-odd minutes but his resistance was broken just before the break by Arnaud Djoum.
Isma Goncalves made it 2-0 from an indirect free-kick in the Hamilton box.
Jamie Walker scored a delightful curling free-kick from outside the box before substitute Malaury Martin made it 4-0, also from a free-kick.
The result means fourth-placed Hearts, who had gone five games in all competitions without a win, are now just five points behind third-placed Rangers in the Premiership table.
Hamilton remain second-bottom, one point above Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Woods' performance for much of this match has surely got to be one of the best seen in the Premiership this season.
First he saved well from a Walker header, before denying Goncalves who was clean through on goal. The Hearts striker should have done better but Woods still spread himself well to make the block.
Sam Nicholson then cut inside to fire in a shot from 25 yards, but Woods was there to tip the ball past the post.
The best was yet to come. A header from Goncalves looked to all the world like it was heading for the bottom corner of the net but somehow Woods got his outstretched hand to it. It was an outstanding save.
Woods had to look lively again on the half hour mark when Alexandros Tziolis cracked in a volley from the edge of the box. The shot took a deflection on the way through and the keeper did superbly well to adjust his footing and make yet another save.
In the 33rd minute Walker made space in the box for another crack at goal but Woods again denied the hosts.
Accies' attacking woes
Having weathered the early Hearts storm, Hamilton managed to establish something of a foothold in the match. For parts of the first-half their five man midfield enjoyed some possession during lulls in Hearts' dominance.
But chances were few. A deflected effort from Eamonn Brophy from the edge of the area the best they could muster in the first-half. It would not get much better in the second-half as Hearts took control. Ali Crawford's free-kick from 30 yards - comfortably saved by Jack Hamilton - was their only effort on target.
There are concerns in both defence and attack for Hamilton. These will have to be quickly addressed if the Accies are to preserve their Premiership status.
Hero to villain
Woods went from hero to villain for Hamilton after handling a back-pass in the penalty area.
From the free-kick, Goncalves lashed a shot into the top corner.
Soon after it was 3-0 for Hearts as Walker curled in an exquisite free-kick from 20 yards, his 15th goal of the campaign.
The fourth came from another free-kick, this time substitute Martin firing home from a similar distance.
Hearts head coach Ian Cathro: "I think one of the biggest positives throughout the first-half was the character of our players to keep pushing.
"We created a lot of chances, we were dominant in the game early, we played with good possession, mixed our attacks as well.
"There were a lot of good stops from him [Hamilton goalkeeper Gary Woods], but the fact we never felt any stress, we stayed calm, we stayed patient, we kept doing the right things and we very much deserved the goal before half-time.
"When you suffer a bad week and three unacceptable results, which was the case, the focus day-to-day has to be on making improvements and making sure you give the maximum every day.
"That's not changed because of this performance and this result. What it means is that everything we had to do today we have done and we will also work again very, very hard tomorrow."
Hamilton manager Martin Canning: "Your job is to go and win games and get enough points to stay in the league and, at the minute, performing like that, we won't.
"That's not good enough, but we're not bottom of the league at the minute. The teams above us both lost today - we're still three points off of those two.
"The fixture list at the moment we have had Celtic, Aberdeen, Rangers, Hearts and Rangers again next weekend, so that's five games against the top teams in the league.
"So it was always going to be a difficult spell, but our performance levels today were not good enough and that is not something I have said a lot this season.
"We can't afford to miss players like were missing them today. We had Darian Mackinnon missing today, Mikey Devlin, who are so influential in the team and Alex D'Acol has been a huge miss up the park. I don't think we have looked the same since he hasn't played.
"[On Gary Woods handling the back-pass] Someone whistled from the crowd and Gary's thought the referee has blown his whistle.
"Jamie Walker had gone down as he tried to run through, something happened and there was a coming together and Walker has gone down and someone has blown a whistle from the crowd. It ends up costing us a very important second goal."
- 7WalkerSubstituted forJohnsenat 80'minutes
- 10Sutchuin-DjoumSubstituted forMartinat 63'minutes
- 11NicholsonSubstituted forEl Ouriachiat 69'minutes
- 77Esmael Gonçalves
- 16El Ouriachi
- 3SkondrasBooked at 57mins
- 7ImrieSubstituted forGogicat 56'minutes
- 20BrophySubstituted forGillespieat 65'minutesBooked at 76mins
- 15BinghamBooked at 40minsSubstituted forTierneyat 74'minutes
- Craig Thomson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Heart of Midlothian 4, Hamilton Academical 0.
Attempt missed. Daniel Redmond (Hamilton Academical) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.
Corner, Hamilton Academical. Conceded by Andraz Struna.
Foul by Alexandros Tziolis (Heart of Midlothian).
Grant Gillespie (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Goal! Heart of Midlothian 4, Hamilton Academical 0. Malaury Martin (Heart of Midlothian) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.
Tasos Avlonitis (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Alexander Gogic (Hamilton Academical).
Alexandros Tziolis (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Ali Crawford (Hamilton Academical).
Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Gary Woods.
Attempt saved. Malaury Martin (Heart of Midlothian) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner.
Foul by Esmael Gonçalves (Heart of Midlothian).
Giannis Skondras (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Hand ball by Alexandros Tziolis (Heart of Midlothian).
Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Bjorn Johnsen replaces Jamie Walker.
Attempt missed. Greg Docherty (Hamilton Academical) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.
Attempt blocked. Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Attempt missed. Malaury Martin (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.
Grant Gillespie (Hamilton Academical) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Alexandros Tziolis (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Grant Gillespie (Hamilton Academical).
Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Ryan Tierney replaces Rakish Bingham.
Attempt saved. Rakish Bingham (Hamilton Academical) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Attempt saved. Ali Crawford (Hamilton Academical) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Foul by Andraz Struna (Heart of Midlothian).
Daniel Redmond (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Moha replaces Sam Nicholson.
Attempt blocked. Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Foul by Lennard Sowah (Heart of Midlothian).
Giannis Skondras (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Sam Nicholson (Heart of Midlothian).
Massimo Donati (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Grant Gillespie replaces Eamonn Brophy.
Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Malaury Martin replaces Arnaud Djoum.
Foul by Arnaud Djoum (Heart of Midlothian).
Greg Docherty (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Lennard Sowah (Heart of Midlothian) hits the right post with a right footed shot from the right side of the box.
Goal! Heart of Midlothian 3, Hamilton Academical 0. Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the top left corner.