Heart of Midlothian tasted defeat for just the second time in 17 games when they fell to a 2-1 loss to struggling Ross County in Dingwall on Saturday afternoon.

The Staggies scored on either side of half-time through Simon Murray with Steven Naismith lamenting the fact that "poor defending" cost his side.

It means Hearts now have to wait two weeks to bounce back due to the international break when they face Kilmarnock, who are 11 points behind in the league table following their 5-2 win over St Mirren.

READ MORE: Hearts international break plans - Frankie Kent and Calem Nieuwenhof expectation

Now, let's consult the StatsBomb data and see what it tells us about the game...

Match details

What jumps out from the match stats is the number of shots. Hearts had more than double the amount of efforts that the home side did but still amassed a smaller xG figure. Two of Ross County's three shots on target found the back of the net, while the third was saved by Zander Clark seconds before the first goal.

But shots on target don't and never do tell the full story.

One of the biggest contributors to the Staggies' xG tally was Jordan White, who somehow managed to turn Simon Murray's cross over while he was almost under the bar.

Initial Opta projections gave it an xG of 0.95 (ie he'd be expected to score 95 times out of 100) but StatsBomb have it as 0.87. It is still a ludicrously high figure (higher than a penalty, for instance) and you rarely see any chances that top 0.85. 

Hearts also dominated possession while they were also more effective at winning the ball back. 

Race chart

StatsBomb paint it as a very even game with Ross County winning the match 38 per cent of the time and Hearts 33 per cent of the time. But it is important to add context, as it was when Hearts defeated Celtic.

With Down Cowie's men 2-0 ahead they naturally dropped deeper and attempted to hold onto their lead rather than adding to it. That gave Hearts the initiative. We can see that the home side were not much of an attacking force after the hour mark. Whereas 13 of Hearts' 23 shots came during the last 30 minutes and stoppage time.

Frustratingly for the visitors, not one of their 23 shots registered an xG of more than 0.16. Essentially the chances Hearts were creating weren't of high value. The three best fell to defenders - Toby Sibbick had one, and Stephen Kingsley had the other two.

Forrest threat

The Hearts winger was the most lively player for Hearts in attack. He played as a winger before being shifted to wing-back then, in the second half, was floating behind the front two.

He had nine of Hearts' 23 shots and no player had more than his 14 touches in the opposition box. He had six more than Shankland.

However, most of his shots were taken from non-threatening areas. We've circled six of those below.

Individual stats

A couple of interesting individual stats to note. Jorge Grant, who came on at 2-0, made six passes into the opposition box, more than any other player on the pitch, including Yan Dhanda who had five. Game state was in his favour with Hearts in control of the ball and dominating with County, as we will show, standing off.

Kye Rowles, as we noted in the instant analysis, struggled. He won four aerial duels but that was just a 33 per cent success rate.

Shape and changes

Hearts started in a 4-3-3 before moving to what looked like a 3-5-2 with Forrest on the left and Aidan Denholm advanced. We can see from the average positions from the first half that the three forwards were too far from one other, and Denholm was the most advanced central player.

The second half is much messier and the large grouping of players, including subs, shows the pressure Hearts exerted in the final third.

County sit deep

It was no surprise that County allowed Hearts possession, especially when the defence was on the ball. But it wasn't quite so clear how much they defended their box.

Again, much of this will stem from the final half an hour when the Staggies sat in and tried to see out their lead, which they did in the end. As Hearts pushed for a way back into the game they were often left frustrated by the number of bodies the home side had back and in their box.

When Hearts didn't have the ball they looked to win it back all over the pitch, especially in the final third. As we saw in the match details they won the ball back more and were more effective when tackling.