Hearts have it all to do in Greece next week if they are to reach the Europa Conference League groups after succumbing to a first-leg defeat at home to PAOK.
Having been fuelled to a comeback win Rosenborg last week by a febrile Tynecastle atmosphere, Hearts had the place rocking to its foundations once again as the fast start they craved was duly delivered.
Kenneth Vargas' dart into the box was halted by a clip to his ankles from Stefan Schwab and VAR intervention brought a penalty that Lawrence Shankland dispatched.
The lead was soon squandered, though, and the euphoria ebbed away, Stefan Schwab levelling from the spot after Kye Rowles clumsily sent Andrija Zivkovic tumbling.
And it was Zivkovic who delivered the killer blow with a thunderous 25-yard strike after the interval to put PAOK in pole position to qualify.
Hearts will rue what might have been. Shankland had a glorious strike into the top corner disallowed for offside at 1-1 and both he and Liam Boyce were foiled in quick succession in the the first half.
However, the Greeks - quarter-finalists two seasons ago - more than contributed to a compelling contest with the impressive Zivkovic and Taison posing plenty of problems.
Player of the match - Andrija Zivkovic
Positives for Hearts in painful defeat - analysis
If Hearts are to reach the groups for the second season running, they'll have to do it the hard way.
They may feel this game was there for the taking. Having opted for a front-loaded line-up, Frankie McAvoy's side lacked control in midfield at times but looked a threat whenever they got service to Shankland. The disallowed goal was a sliding doors moment.
However, any lead in this tie was to be prized and Hearts relinquished it far too easily. PAOK are clearly a dangerous side. Not the most convincing at the back, but slick in possession and quick on the counter.
Still, Hearts showed enough here to foster belief the deficit is not insurmountable.
Hearts are away to Dundee in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday (15:00 BST) then head to Greece for the second leg with PAOK next Thursday (18:30).