First team

Match Report: Hearts 1-1 Kilmarnock

30 March 2024

Hearts and Kilmarnock shared the cinch Premiership points in today’s match at Tynecastle after the international break.


A first half header from Kenneth Vargas had the Jambos on their way, but a second half stunner from Marley Watkins ensured the Ayrshire side were to walk away from Gorgie with at least a point.


Steven Naismith made four changes to the side that was edged out by Ross County before the international break: with academy graduate Macaulay Tait handed his maiden start whilst Dexter Lembikisa and the returning Frankie Kent appointed to defensive duties.


Killie registered the first chanvce of the game after four minutes when Matty Kennedy’s teasing cross found the head of Marley Watkins – who directed a firm header straight into the gloves of Zander Clark in the Hearts goal.


Moments later, Hearts hit back. A brilliant driving run from Vargas saw the ball threaded to Forrest who crashed into the Killie area before testing Will Dennis with a rasping shot that prompted a smart save.


It was a taste of things to come as Hearts soon secured the lead after nine minutes. Shankland and Cochrane combined well down the flank, with the former sending a perfect cross tumbling onto the head of Kenneth Vargas who nodded past Dennis from a matter of yards.


Hearts applied the pressure further, with Lawrence Shankland causing plenty of problems for the Ayrshire side’s rearguard: eventually shrugging off the attentions of Joe Wright before testing Will Dennis with a low drive.


The first half largely saw the two teams probing each other for an opening, with Hearts shading possession, but Kilmarnock missed a glorious chance in first half stoppage as Zander Clark produced a save out of the top drawer to claw away a Marley Watkins header that seemed destined for goal.




Indeed, it was Marley Watkins again who was at the heart of events, as he gathered his composure on the edge of the Hearts area after 66 minutes.


Showing commendable poise and control, he curled a sumptuous strike past Zander Clark to put Killie back on level terms.


Both sides plugged away, but the second half was an evenly matched contest that ensured both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils.


Hearts: Clark, Lembikisa, Kent, Kingsley, Cochrane (Rowles 71’), Tait (Devlin 71’), Baningime, Grant (McKay 71’), Vargas, Forrest, Shankland


Subs: Gordon, Oda, Atkinson, Devlin, Rowles, McKay, Denholm, Fraser, Tagawa


Kilmarnock: Dennis, Wright, Mayo, Deas (Ndaba 73’), Vassell (Van Veen 73’), Kennedy, Armstrong (GMS 73’), Findlay, Donnelly (Watson 53’), Watkins, Polworth


Subs: O’Hara, Ndaba, McKenzie, Watson, Balagizi, Cameron, Stewart, GMS, Van Veen