HEARTS' tale of unexpected triumph in the face of adversity is as old and weary as a Crossroads cliffhanger, yet Gary Locke's men were well served by a familiar script as they refused to make their departure for the bottom six a meek one.

Their unforeseen 4-2 win over high-flying Ross County is the plot twist that will give the Tynecastle club's long-suffering supporters hope that Gary Locke's side can produce something tangible in the way of optimism for the future.

Yes, it was the Jekyll and Hyde show many in Gorgie have become familiar with, but the game's happy ending will have been a welcome surprise following a month without a victory.

For long parts of the game Hearts were second best to a County side that led twice through German striker Steffen Wohlfarth – David Ngoo equalised in between – but a frantic five-minute rally near the end brought three goals that turned the game on its head.

Jason Holt made it all square again with 11 minutes remaining and County defender Evangelos Ikonomou put through his own net before Ngoo bagged his second of the game. "It's a great feeling," said Locke after his first win since his permanent appointment as Hearts manager. "The second half, that was the type of performance we needed. A special mention goes to my goalkeeper, Jamie MacDonald. He made three or four terrific saves to keep us in the game, as we could have been dead and buried.

"The rest of my players did well too. If they show the same desire for the rest of the season that they did in the second half then I'll be happy."

Derek Adams' men dominated the first half and made the breakthrough after 21 minutes when Wohlfarth left Jamie Hamill, making his first start for a year after a cruciate ligament injury, for dead before racing into the box, cutting away from the byeline and thrashing the ball high beyond MacDonald. Ivan Sproule was one-on-one with the goalkeeper minutes later, but MacDonald saved bravely.

Locke made two half-time substitutions, bringing on Holt and Arvydas Novikovas for Callum Tapping and Mehdi Taouil and they levelled four minutes after the restart when captain-for-the-day Ryan Stevenson supplied Kevin McHattie at the corner flag and he delivered an inch-perfect cross for Ngoo to head home.

It says much about the character and belief Locke has instilled in his young side that Wohlfarth's second goal – he scored with a header after he was left unmarked at an Iain Vigurs corner five minutes later – did not result in the capitulation many of the 10,456 crowd inside Tynecastle would have expected.

Instead, they were treated to a wonderful strike from distance from substitute Holt, his left-foot volley sailing beyond Michael Fraser with 11 minutes to play.

That triggered a purple patch for the men in maroon. Ikonomou lashed a wayward clearance into his own goal a minute later after industrious play and a tricky shot from Jamie Walker at the edge of the box. Hearts' fourth goal quickly followed and this time Paul Lawson was the County culprit. He surrendered position in his own half, affording John Sutton the opportunity to lay the ball off for Ngoo at the edge of the area, and the on-loan Liverpool man smashed low and hard beyond Fraser at his near post.

"We should have been out of sight at half-time, we really should have been going in 4-0," said County manager Adams. "It was a match we shouldn't have lost, but we made mistakes, didn't take our chances when they came along and we got punished."