The Rangers-bound centre-half rolled an ankle shortly after conceding the penalty which saw United take a 2-1 lead. Souttar’s centre-half partner Craig Halkett equalised with a header with nine minutes left.
There were two scorelines. Hearts certainly came off worse in the injury stakes, having had five players forced off in the 90 minutes. Another, Josh Ginnelly, limped off at the end. United, meanwhile, saw skipper Ryan Edwards helped off after sustaining a bad gash in his head after catching an elbow from Ellis Simms, who was booked.
“I’ve never been involved in something like this in my 25 years in football,” said Neilson later. “It was unbelievable. We started the game really well and then we got injury after injury after injury.
“We had to take Nate (Atkinson) off at half-time and then we lost John Souttar as well. For us to fight back and get a point, I’m delighted. The whole continuity of the team altered. Andy Halliday came on, started at right-back then right wing-back, left-back, left wing-back, central midfield. (Liam) Boycie was the same, moving everywhere. Peter Haring dropped to centre-half.
Every sub was an injury. Gary (Mackay-Steven) came off then we had to put a defender (Alex Cochrane) on. It made it difficult but we know how we have to play. We did all right, but not enough to win the game.
“John has a sore ankle… to be honest, I’m not really sure (what’s wrong with the rest of them). They were just coming off! Gary hurt his hand, Cochrane is concussion. (Cammy) Devlin was a hamstring.
“Josh got injured as well at the end. It’s one of those days and hopefully we don’t have too many more.”
Neilson said he had no complaints with the penalty, awarded when Souttar tripped Nicky Clark after 56 minutes. The United striker picked himself to score from the spot. “We have to win the first header,” he said. “It’s one of those things that John then gets injured off the back of that. It was the right decision.”