Derek McInnes lamented the way his Kilmarnock side let Hearts off the hook in their dramatic 2-2 draw at Rugby Park.
The hosts were 2-0 up after 59 minutes when Kyle Lafferty capitalised on a mistake by Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon to add to Chris Stokes’ opener early in the second half.
But Hearts hit back within two minutes through Stephen Humphrys before right-back Nathaniel Atkinson equalised with a stunning volley on his weaker foot with virtually the last kick of the game.
“It feels like a defeat,” McInnes said. “I’m more annoyed with the first goal because we didn’t get to enjoy being 2-0 up. I felt as though we did so much right in the game.
“When we got the second goal, I thought we had Hearts exactly where we wanted them. But there were still too many good players on the pitch for Hearts for us to knock off.
“The equaliser can happen, it’s a right-back taking a ball out the air with his left foot and smashing it into the corner. It’s an unbelievable strike.
“I’ve watched it back. Normally you can trace things back but there’s nothing we could do differently other than not give away the free-kick in the first place.
“But the first goal was a copy and paste of the run Marley Watkins made against us at Pittodrie last week when Aberdeen got the soft penalty. That’s the one I’m most annoyed about because it’s a straight ball and we should be seeing that off.
“That gave Hearts a way back in. At 2-0 up against a team struggling for a bit of form, we should have been enjoying that moment. We should have been managing the game better and been smart.”
Hearts manager Robbie Neilson admitted his side are “not quite firing on all cylinders at the moment” but he praised the spirit they showed to fight back after heavy back-to-back defeats at home to Rangers and Fiorentina.
“Ten days ago we were sitting third in the league and second in our (Conference League) group,” pointed out Neilson. “A couple of defeats against good teams and the perspective changes.
“Today, we create a number of early chances but we’re just not quite firing on all cylinders at the moment. If we take one of those chances, it’s a different game.
“The pleasing thing is that we fought back. We continued to pass it, get forward, we deserved a point at least.
“To work right the way through to the 95th minute to get a point out the game was great from them.”