Match Preview: Kilmarnock (A)31 March 2023
The men in maroon will be looking to avenge a below-par display at Pittodrie prior to the international break.
As for Kilmarnock, they are without a win in five matches, however, their general home form has been very strong this season with only Rangers, Celtic and Livingston managing to leave Rugby Park with all three points.
It’s one apiece as far as the head-to-head is concerned. Kilmarnock were the victors in a Premier Sports Cup tie back in August, meanwhile, Hearts picked up the three points when the sides met at Tynecastle in December with Josh Ginnelly and Lawrence Shankland both on target in a 3-1 win.
As for the last meeting at Rugby Park, Hearts fought back from 2-0 down to rescue a point in horrendous conditions. Nathaniel Atkinson was the hero that afternoon, as his stunning last-minute volley was enough to ensure the spoils were shared.
Ones to watch:
Killie are the lowest scorers in the Premiership this season, however, that does not mean that they don’t have quality in the final third.
Daniel Armstrong has impressed out wide for the Ayrshire side this season, meanwhile, Ash Taylor and Joe Wright will both be a threat from set plays.
Christian Doidge and Kyle Vassell are a very physical pair up front, and a midfield that could include the likes of Alan Power and Liam Donnelly will ensure Hearts are allowed very little time in the middle of the park.
Hearts will be without Cammy Devlin for the trip to Ayrshire. The tenacious midfielder is recovering from a concussion, sustained while on international duty with Australia. Peter Haring is back in full training and is available for selection after missing over five months with a concussion. The men in maroon remain without long-term absentees, Craig Gordon, Craig Halkett, Beni Baningime, Liam Boyce, and Gary Mackay-Steven.
“Attention is on trying to get that third place tied down. We’ve got nine games to go and everyone around us is going to be fighting for that third place. The way that the league is, every game is competitive. You’ve got teams going for survival, others pushing for the top six, ones looking to stay in the top six and others fighting for Europe.
“I’m expecting a tough, physical game. Look at the stats and over 50% of their goals come from set-plays. You have to be organised in these situations.”