Match ends, Heart of Midlothian 6, Alloa Athletic 0.
Hearts are two points from the Scottish Championship title after Liam Boyce scored a hat-trick in the thrashing of bottom club Alloa Athletic.
The Tynecastle side's return to the top flight at the first attempt will be confirmed on Saturday should Raith Rovers and Dundee both fail to win.
Euan Henderson, Aaron McEneff and Jamie Walker also netted as the hosts claimed a first victory in five matches.
Alloa stay seven points behind Arbroath and Morton having played a game more.
Peter Grant's side will be relegated on Saturday if Arbroath, Morton and Ayr United all win.
Liam Boyce's smart first-time finish and penalty - after Henderson's 60-yard run was halted by goalkeeper Neil Parry - had Hearts 2-0 ahead at half-time.
Henderson netted a terrific goal from Peter Haring's defence-splitting pass before Boyce blasted home the fourth early in the second half.
McEneff kept three defenders at bay to drill into the bottom corner for his first Hearts goal and substitute Walker capitalised on Parry's error to complete the rout.
Robbie Neilson's men now have a 14-point lead with three games to play, while closest challengers Raith and Dundee each have five matches left.
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson: "We've taken a bit of flak, so it's good to get back to winning ways. There'll be a few pundits that aren't happy tonight so it's good to ram it down their throat.
"Internally we know what we've got here. I'm delighted to see John Souttar back. He did great. All in all, it was a great team performance."
Alloa manager Peter Grant: "We played a lot of good stuff but, yet again, you see the goals we lose are very poor. It's a sore one."
- 4SouttarSubstituted forWalkerat 84'minutes
- 5HaringBooked at 90mins
- 10BoyceSubstituted forMackay-Stevenat 76'minutes
- 31HendersonSubstituted forNaismithat 60'minutes
- 6HetheringtonBooked at 41mins
- 10TroutenSubstituted forScougallat 61'minutes
- 24WilliamsonSubstituted forMurrayat 54'minutes
- Steven McLean
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Heart of Midlothian 6, Alloa Athletic 0.
Foul by Armand Gnanduillet (Heart of Midlothian).
Scott Taggart (Alloa Athletic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Peter Haring (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Peter Haring (Heart of Midlothian).
Stefan Scougall (Alloa Athletic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Goal! Heart of Midlothian 6, Alloa Athletic 0. Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian) left footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Armand Gnanduillet.
Attempt missed. Liam Dick (Alloa Athletic) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.
Attempt missed. Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.
Hand ball by Steven Hetherington (Alloa Athletic).
Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Jamie Walker replaces John Souttar.
Shay Logan (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ray Grant (Alloa Athletic).
Andrew Halliday (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Stefan Scougall (Alloa Athletic).
Corner, Alloa Athletic. Conceded by Michael Smith.
Foul by Steven Naismith (Heart of Midlothian).
Liam Dick (Alloa Athletic) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by John Souttar (Heart of Midlothian).