THE idea that Hearts are too good to go down looks increasingly fanciful with every passing match. Granted, they deserve credit for continuing to plug away to eventually earn a point after being two goals down at home to a plucky Hamilton side.

But given the poverty of their defending in the opening spell and then the heavy weather they made of eventually breaking down 10-man Accies, there ought to be concerns among the Tynecastle support as they study the Premiership table and wonder just how their team is going to find a way to work its way off the bottom.

Even manager Daniel Stendel was not sounding overly optimistic as he assessed his side’s chances. This game – against the team immediately above them in the table – was one that they really ought to have won, while the next sees them travelling to face a St Mirren side similarly battling for their lives.

Accies and Saints both know what is required to escape from relegation danger and Hearts will need to learn quickly, too.

“It’s not easy because we don’t have so much time,” admitted Stendel. “And the situation from week to week is not getting better. We need to handle it. We expected to win this game against Hamilton and we didn’t do it. It’s just one point. The next big game is now St Mirren.

“We don’t have as many games left and every week there is more pressure. And we need to sort it.”

The game turned on the early dismissal of visitors defender Jamie Hamilton. Accies had been two goals to the good by that point and on course for a famous win.

Instead they were forced into a desperate rearguard action for 70 minutes, with first Jamie Walker and then Craig Halkett breaking their resistance, the latter only three minutes before the end.

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“I think we did enough to take all three points,” sighed Accies coach Guillaume Beuzelin. “We were hanging on and hanging on, but in the end there’s a lack of concentration and we’re punished for it.”

The expectation had been that Hamilton would come with the sole purpose of throttling the life out of the contest and head home happy with a draw. What few barring the most pessimistic of Hearts fans could have envisaged, then, was the visitors racing into a two-goal lead within 16 minutes.

And it was well merited. Marios Ogkmpoe has proved himself to be a more than handy figure in attack. He had already served notice of his intentions with an early shot that was saved but Hearts failed to heed the warnings.

Fifteen minutes in, Ogkmpoe seemed to be at the centre of everything and it was he who was on the wrong end of Sean Clare’s clumsy swipe in the box. It was a nailed-on penalty and Ogkmoe – who else – calmly rolled the shot home.

Tynecastle, hardly a haven of calm at the best of times, threaten to explode in apoplexy. Hamilton were always likely to sit in and defend their lead having forged a two-goal advantage but any doubt about those tactics was swiftly removed when they were reduced to 10 men after just 20 minutes.

Hamilton – the player – has not enjoyed much in the way of good fortune this season and his luck did not turn here as he picked up his third red card of a fraught season. It seemed a trifle harsh as he accidentally batted away a ball forward with his arm just outside of the box.

Assistant referee Frank Connor waved his flag as if he were at a Boy Scouts rally, alerting referee Kevin Clancy to the incident. Out came the card and Hamilton once more had the showers to himself.

That set the tone for the rest of the contest. Hearts finally stole away with a point but only time will tell if it was enough from a match that they really ought to have won.