Rangers proved too hot for Hearts at Tynecastle as they hit the Jambos with three unanswered goals.
Dundee United moved into fourth place after victory over 10-man St Johnstone.
Aberdeen moved up to seventh with a comfortable away win at Inverness and, in the game of the day, Dunfermline kep their slim survival hopes alive in an eight-goal thriller at St Mirren.
Hearts failed to claim back-to-back Old Firm scalps as Rangers grabbed all three points with a 3-0 win.
Sone Aluko set the ball rolling at Tynecastle with an impressive free-kick to open the scoring and an Andy Little double sealed the win for administration-hit Rangers.
Dundee United moved into fourth place after a Tayside derby victory over 10-man St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.
Scott Robertson scored after 32 minutes and John Rankin in second half stoppage time as United leapfrogged their hosts to move within three points of third-placed Motherwell, who meet Celtic on Sunday, meaning UEFA Champions League football is a realistic prospect at Tannadice next term.
Two own goals were enough to send Aberdeen up to seventh in the SPL with a 2-0 win at Inverness.
After a goalless first half, Spanish defender Roman Golobart headed into his own goal 48 seconds after the restart.
Full-back Kenny Gillet doubled the lead with a minute to go when Josh Magennis' shot rebounded off goalkeeper Jonny Tuffey on to the Frenchman and into the net.
Andrew Barrowman headed a late equaliser as Dunfermline came from two goals behind to give their slim survival hopes a lift in a St Mirren Park thriller.
Steven Thompson struck a hat-trick to leave the Pars staring at another defeat midway through the second half but Liam Buchanan's wonderful strike gave Dunfermline hope and substitute Barrowman converted two minutes from time.
The draw leaves bottom club Dunfermline six points behind Hibernian, who host Kilmarnock on Sunday.