St Johnstone must be utterly sick of the sight of Josh Ginnelly.

A goal for the forward against Saints is about as close as you get to a banker in the Scottish Premiership these days, and his double inspired an important 3-0 victory for Hearts at Tynecastle. The scoreline perhaps disguises how trick an afternoon this was for Robbie Neilson’s side, as Saints failed to capitalise on a number of chances.

But the Jambos were still worth their three points, their acquisition given added gloss by Jorge Grant, albeit whether the midfielder’s goal was a cross or shot remains up for debate. Regardless, the result allows Hearts to keep a resurgent Hibs at arm’s length in the race for third spot.

Saints, meanwhile, need not fear too much the prospect of being dragged back into the relegation mire – they remain seven above 10th-placed Ross County.

Ginnelly loves this fixture

We talk about clubs having a bogey team, less so a bogey player. Time and again, however, Josh Ginnelly finds a way to haunt St Johnstone.

His double, claiming one in each half, was his fifth goal in six matches against Saints – he’s scored more versus them than any other opponent. That there was a considerable element of fortune about the finish will only irk the Perth side further.

A sharp pass and clever dummy run from Jorge Grant allowed Ginnelly to drive in off the left, and while his low left-footed strike was on target, it only found the net via a telling deflection off Liam Gordon. The second, however, was wonderfully worked.

Barrie McKay exchanged passes with Alex Cochrane on the inside left, continuing his run to square for a Ginnelly tap-in. There was more good fortune about the third in the closing stages – although Grant might contest otherwise. His effort from the right looked like a cross, but it evaded everyone, including Matthews, to nestle in the far bottom corner.

Saints rue missed chances

Their hard-earned point, ground out with 10 men, against St Mirren last week was a gutsy display of St Johnstone’s character. But here they showed they can be an attacking threat, too.

It was 90 minutes that were probably far too open for Neilson’s liking – the visitors created a host of chances, but were made to pay for their profligacy. Against a side with Hearts’ attacking assets, being wasteful in front of goal isn’t really an option.

Connor McLennan and Melker Hallberg passed up their two best opportunities, unable to find the net with a pair of headers from around 12 yards, one sailing over and the other held by Zander Clark.

Hearts maintain breathing space

It’s up for debate whether the long-term aim for Hearts is closing the gap on Celtic and Rangers, or widening it between themselves and the rest. With few below them finding consistent form over much of this season, it felt like the latter was certainly within their grasp come the end of the season.

But they’ll be aware of rivals Hibs seemingly turning a significant corner in recent weeks. Had Hearts not seen off Saturday’s challenge, Lee Johnson’s side would have closed to within two points.

They are still clear favourites to finish third, but it’s by no means a done deal.