Aberdeen climbed up to second by piling more misery on Hearts, while Falkirk, Kilmarnock and Dundee United were also winners.
Hearts were frustrated in their efforts to close the gap on Aberdeen but looked likely to earn at least a point as the Tynecastle clash headed towards a goalless draw.
However, three minutes from time Steve Lovell pounced for Aberdeen to secure a 1-0 win and leave Hearts in fifth place.
Kilmarnock moved up to fourth with a thrilling 4-3 victory over Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
In a topsy-turvy game Steven Naismith (29 and 68) and Colin Nish (35 and 50) both bagged braces for Killie, while Darren Dods (6 and 39) and Craig Dods (45) found the target for Inverness.
Hibernian missed the chance to boost their European hopes as they slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Falkirk.
A Shelton Martis own goal (14) set John Hughes' side on their way and Liam Craig added a second, before Steven Fletcher pulled a goal back for Hibs in the 56th minute.
The bottom four teams were all in action against each other, and Dundee United emerged the happiest after beating Motherwell 3-2.
Collin Samuel (29) opened the scoring for United and David McCracken made it 2-0, before Motherwell drew level courtesy of a Richie Foran penalty (62) and Mark Reynolds strike (68).
There was a further twist in the tale though, as Noel Hunt won the game for Dundee United in the 79th minute.
Dunfermline remain rooted to the foot of the table after playing out a 0-0 draw with St Mirren.
Click below for individual match summaries:
Falkirk 2-1 Hibernian
Hearts 0-1 Aberdeen
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 3-4 Kilmarnock
Motherwell 2-3 Dundee United
St Mirren 0-0 Dunfermline Athletic