Lawrence Shankland stepped down from penalty duties and still stole the show with a magnificent goal as rampant Hearts defeated Aberdeen 2-0 to surge 10 points clear in third place in the cinch Premiership.
After missing his last three spot-kicks, the talismanic Jambos captain allowed team-mate Jorge Grant to take over and the Englishman duly opened the scoring from 12 yards out.
Shankland had the Tynecastle crowd in raptures when he sealed a seventh win in eight games for Hearts with a lovely finish with the outside of his foot to take his tally to 19 for the season.
Jambos boss Steven Naismith made three changes to the team that started Tuesday’s 3-2 win over Dundee as Craig Halkett, Aidan Denholm and Kenneth Vargas were replaced by Alan Forrest, Grant and Yutaro Oda.
There was just one tweak to the Dons side that kicked off Wednesday’s 1-1 draw at St Johnstone as Richard Jensen replaced Slobodan Rubezic at centre-back.
Following a low-key opening to the match, Hearts forward Oda had the first proper sight of goal in the 12th minute when he was released into the box by a pass down the right from Grant but Jack MacKenzie matched the Japanese and blocked his shot behind for a corner.
Aberdeen thought they had gone ahead in the 24th minute when Bojan Miovski arced a lovely left-footed finish high beyond Zander Clark from just inside the box, but the celebrations were cut short when the North Macedonia forward was adjudged to have fouled Beni Baningime in the build-up following a lengthy VAR check.
Five minutes later Dons midfielder Dante Polvara fizzed a powerful low shot just wide from 30 yards out.
Hearts had struggled for much of the half but they had a brief spell of pressure towards the interval in which Grant curled just wide from the edge of the box before Stephen Kingsley sent a free-kick just over from 20 yards out.
At the other end, Leighton Clarkson dragged a low effort wide from just inside the box before Jamie McGrath fired a free-kick narrowly over from just outside the box.
The deadlock was broken in the 56th minute after Hearts were awarded a penalty when Forrest’s cross from the left was deemed to have been blocked by the arm of Nicky Devlin following another lengthy VAR check. Grant, taking over spot-kick duties from Shankland, despatched his effort clinically beyond Kelle Roos.
The Aberdeen keeper had to make a couple of excellent saves to keep his side in the game as he pushed away goal-bound strikes from distance from Forrest and Shankland.
But Roos was helpless in the 76th minute as Shankland nonchalantly pinged home a lovely finish with the outside of his right foot from inside the D to seal the points and pile more pressure on under-fire Aberdeen manager Barry Robson.