Three days after their UEFA Cup heroics in Portugal Hearts could manage no better than a goalless draw with struggling Livingston.
The Edinburgh side also laboured after the first leg against Braga, losing away to Dunfermline with a second string line-up, but even though they had home advantage and manager Craig Levein made just two changes this time, they were forced to settle for a result which takes them into the top half of the table on goal difference.
Hearts started on the attack and, as Scotland boss Berti Vogts looked on, in-form midfielder Paul Hartley was unlucky when the ball would not sit up kindly for a left-foot shot 12 yards out.
A great passing move from defence saw the Jambos create a half chance for Irish full-back Alan Maybury which keeper Roddy McKenzie saved well from long range.
The former Hearts reserve made an even better stop in the 18th minute when he tipped a dipping left foot free-kick from Jamie McAllister over the bar. Hartley also went close with a low right-footed drive.
Livingston were denied a shock lead in controversial circumstances after 27 minutes. Jason Dair found the net with a perfect hit from the edge of the box, only for referee Charlie Richmond to point out that he had awarded an indirect free-kick.
Dair's disallowed effort seemed to create a sense of injustice in the Livingston ranks and within three minutes home keeper Craig Gordon needed to pull off a fine reflex save to deny Craig Easton, after teenager Robert Snodgrass had cut the ball back from the byline.
The quality of play continued to improve before half-time, with Phil Stamp's run from midfield setting up a chance for striker Dennis Wyness, which full-back David McNamee somehow managed to deflect off target.
Livingston's Burton O'Brien then ended the first 45 minutes with a thumping free-kick which came back off the base of the post.
The Lions remained dangerous after the interval with Rubio wasting his second free header of the afternoon and ex Hearts forward Jim Hamilton keeping Gordon busy.
Hearts were unwilling to settle for a point and brought on Thursday's two-goal hero Mark De Vries, but the big Dutchman looked sluggish and a tame late header was his most significant contribution.