Raith Rovers’ play-off hopes were killed off as the 10-man Fifers suffered a contentious 3-1 defeat at the hands of champions-elect Hearts.
Kevin McHattie opened the scoring for the visitors in the first-half, with the Rovers players furiously claiming for offside against the Scotland under-21 star.
Craig Barr powered home his first goal for the Fife club to restore parity, but any hopes of holding on to a precious point were dashed when Christian Nade was given his marching orders for a heavy challenge on McHattie.
Jamie Walker and Billy King subsequently found the net to continue the Jambos’ march back to the Premiership.
Raith, meanwhile, are destined to play out the rest of the campaign in mid-table, with Grant Murray’s men remaining 11 points adrift of the top four.
He said: “Even with 11 players on the pitch, games against Hearts are difficult.
“The red card is a difficult one. It is tough on Christian, the way the game is refereed now is hard for players.
“I thought the first goal was offside and I think the officials were inconsistent if I’m honest.”
After a dominant first half-hour from the visitors, the opener came in contentious circumstances, with McHattie astonishingly free just six yards from goal prodding home his third goal of the campaign.
No flag came and the goal stood but Raith responded admirably and were level just before half-time as Barr met Ryan Conroy’s corner to bullet a header past Neil Alexander.
Rovers were left with a mountain to climb after 64 minutes when Nade, who spent three years with the Jambos, barrelled into McHattie and was shown a red card.
Hearts eventually found a way to claim all three points with substitute Walker surging forward to sweep a low shot past McGurn.
King added gloss to the scoreline with his third goal in two games, slamming a low effort past McGurn.
If the Jambos beat Falkirk on Saturday and Rangers play out a draw at Hibs 24 hours later the capital club will be crowned champions.
Raith: McGurn, Thomson, Watson, Barr, McKeown, Anderson, Fox, Callachan, Conroy; Vaughan (Stewart 70), Nade. Subs not used: Cuthbert, Hill, Moon, Scott, Robertson, Matthews.
Hearts: Alexander, Paterson, Wilson, Ozturk, McHattie, Nicholson, Gomis, Pallardo, King (Anderson 88), Keatings (Walker 72), Zeefuik (El Hassnaoui). Subs not used: Gallacher, Sow, McGhee, Eckersley.
Ref: George Salmond
* Raith physio Karen Gibson is to leave the club.
The medic, who was recently praised by Stark’s Park chief executive Eric Drysdale for “bringing in some great innovations that are helping enormously”, has agreed to become the head physio at Hearts.
The Jambos are understood to be keen to bring Gibson to Tynecastle sooner rather than later but the clubs have yet to reach agreement on her departure date.
Gibson spent several seasons at Dundee before joining Raith.