Aberdeen remain in the bottom half of the Scottish Premiership after a 2-1 defeat at Hearts.
First-half goals from Arnaud Djoum and Steven Naismith had Hearts in control against a below-par Dons, with a second-half penalty from Gary Mackay-Steven giving them a route back into the game.
Naismith had a second penalty kept out and despite a late rally, Derek McInnes’ side were unable to find an equaliser.
The Dons made one change from the 4-1 win over St Mirren a fortnight ago, with James Wilson starting in place of Connor McLennan, who had recovered from a shoulder injury to make the bench.
Hearts, still top of the table coming into this game, could have opened the scoring just three minutes in, with a clever corner routine turned towards the back post by Demetri Mitchell, however Djoum could not turn it home.
The first half was short on attacking quality with neither goalkeeper forced into a meaningful save, until the hosts took the lead on 36 minutes.
Callumn Morrison was afforded too much time on the right-hand side to deliver a cross, with Djoum making a near-post run to glance the ball into the far corner with Joe Lewis stationary.
They continued to hem Aberdeen in and earned a penalty on 41 minutes, when Naismith was brought down by Ferguson in the box. Hearts’ captain from the day made no mistake with the penalty, finishing down the middle to give the home side a two-goal advantage.
Aberdeen desperately needed an improvement on a poor opening period and got it within 10 minutes, with one of the half-time substitutes, Niall McGinn, winning a penalty when Clevid Dikamona dragged him to the turf. Mackay-Steven sent Zdenek Zlamal the wrong way to reduce the deficit.
Djoum could have put the game to bed on 65 minutes when he met Naismith’s dinked cross, however Lewis was across quickly and smothered at the second attempt.
Wilson slashed a glorious chance over the bar with 20 minutes to go after Graeme Shinnie’s route to goal had been blocked, before they conceded a second penalty at the other end.
Shay Logan was the guilty party this time, booked for a foul on substitute Sean Clare, but Lewis turned away Naismith’s spot-kick superbly round the post.
Hearts were indebted to a brilliant stop from their own goalkeeper, with Zlamal getting fingertips on a low Mackay-Steven shot that looked destined for the bottom corner.