Aberdeen took full advantage of Celtic’s surprise defeat at Kilmarnock to cut the gap at the top of the standings to eight points thanks to a 3-0 win over Hamilton.
In a match that could hardly be described as a classic, the Dons did enough to take the points, despite a spirited rearguard action from Martin Canning’s Hamilton side.
Andrew Considine led the charge for the Dons, netting a double, with Niall McGinn also on the scoresheet.
Nadir Ciftci notched his first goal for Motherwell to earn Stephen Robinson’s side a 1-1 draw at home to Partick Thistle.
The on-loan Celtic striker held off his man and turned and fired low into the corner from 16 yards in the 79th minute.
Kris Doolan had opened the scoring in the 53rd minute with a free header after stepping into the team when the in-form Conor Sammon suffered a family bereavement.
Hearts were indebted to goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin as his dazzling display and David Milinkovic’s fifth goal of the campaign ensured the stubborn Jambos claimed a smash-and-grab 1-0 success against 10-man St Johnstone.
The Serbian winger produced a fine finish early in the second half to claim the points for the hosts, although the visitors will rue Chris Kane rattling the crossbar in the first period and a flurry of fine stops from McLaughlin.
St Johnstone, who saw ex-Hibs midfielder David Wotherspoon dismissed for two yellow cards in the space of seven minutes, also saw vociferous claims for a penalty waved away by referee Andrew Dallas after Christophe Berra appeared to handle the ball in the box.
Alex Schalk scored twice to end Ross County‘s long winless streak with a 4-1 triumph at Dundee.
The Staggies were without a victory since the start of November – a run stretching 13 matches – and started the day six points adrift at the bottom of the table.
Davis Keillor-Dunn opened the scoring before Kerr Waddell equalised, but Schalk struck twice and Tim Chow scored late on to breathe life into their fight against relegation.