Match Report: Hearts 0-1 Kilmarnock

01 September 2022

Innes Cameron’s first-half header was the difference between the sides as the Jambos failed to find a way past Killie’s defence at Tynecastle Park.

Robbie Neilson made four changes from the side that beat St Johnstone at the weekend as he was without the injured trio of Kye Rowles, Nathaniel Atkinson and Liam Boyce. They were replaced by Alex Cochrane, Peter Haring and Lawrence Shankland, while Alan Forrest came in for Gary Mackay-Steven.

The opening stages were an open affair with both sides keen to get forward. It was the visitors who carved the game’s first chance on eight minutes, when Rory McKenzie was slipped in at the edge of the box. He turned and blasted an effort on target but Craig Gordon stood firm to beat the ball away.

Josh Ginnelly made Sam Walker work in goals on 18 minutes after running towards the byline and blasting a cross towards the target which the keeper pushed away at his near post.

It was Kilmarnock who took the lead after 20 minutes. Liam Polworth clipped a ball to the back post and Cameron leapt to steer a header beyond Gordon and into the bottom corner of the net.

Hearts nearly unlocked the Killie defence moments later when Barrie McKay slid Ginnelly though, he found Lawrence Shankland but after a block from a Kilmarnock defender, the striker’s second touch was plucked from the air by Walker and the danger cleared.

The equaliser nearly came with five minutes of the first half remaining. Andy Halliday’s cross into the box was met by Shankland, but his close-range header was pushed away by Walker.

Gordon was called into the action before the half was out, diving to his right to stop Polworth’s long-range effort.

Half time: Hearts 0-1 Kilmarnock

The Jambos went close with a well-worked move six minutes into the restart. Michael Smith sent Ginnelly into the box and he middled only for the outstretched leg of Shankland to miss the ball by inches.

Two minutes later another good passage of play got the boys in maroon close. McKay sent Alex Cochrane to the byline to cross for Shankland but his shot deflected up into the arms of Walker.

Kilmarnock passed up a chance on the hour mark when McKenzie’s cross to the back post found the unmarked Ash Taylor, but he could only head well wide.

Gordon had to be alert on 66 minutes to rush off his line and smother Danny Armstrong’s attempted lob following a long ball into the Hearts box as the visitors gave a timely reminder of how dangerous they could be on the break as the Jambos searched for the equaliser.

The next goal nearly came two minutes later but for Kilmarnock. Taylor rose to nod forward a ball into the box but Gordon managed to tip it onto the crossbar.

Hearts continued to push for the equaliser. With five minutes remaining Cochrane took aim from distance and forced Walker down to his right to turn the ball around the post.

That equalising goal proved too elusive, and Kilmarnock held on for the victory.

Full time: Hearts 0-1 Kilmarnock

Hearts: Gordon, M. Smith, Haring, Shankland, Devlin (C. Smith, 55’), Halliday, Forrest (Henderson, 69’), McKay, Cochrane, Neilson (Sibbick, 69’), Ginnelly (Mackay-Steven, 81’). Subs: Stewart, Denholm, Tait.

Kilmarnock: Walker, Mayo, Taylor, McKenzie (Power, 75’), Armstrong (Alston, 79’), Wright, Donnelly (Murray, 74’), Alebiosu, Cameron (Lafferty, 75’), Polworth, Chrisene. Subs: Woods, Stokes, Shaw, McInroy, Sotona.