Heart of Midlothian 0-1 Kilmarnock
Saturday 4th May 2019, KO 15:00 | Ladbrokes Premiership | Tynecastle Park
Hearts were beaten 1-0 by Kilmarnock in the final home game of the 2018/19 season.
In an action packed game it looked like all that was missing was goals until Stuart Findlay hammered home the only goal of the game with four minutes remaining.
Craig Levein made two changes from the side that bagged a point at Easter Road last week, with Ryan Edwards coming in for Connor Smith to make his full home debut, while Steven MacLean replaced Sean Clare.
The visitors were first to threaten after eight minutes. Rory McKenzie drove to the edge of the Hearts box before slipping in Eamonn Brophy, but his low drive was expertly blocked by Bobby Zlamal.
The Jambos responded on the quarter hour mark when Arnaud Djoum struck a 20-yard volley following a clearance from the Killie box but he blasted well over the bar.
Moments later Christophe Berra nodded Harry Cochrane’s free kick across the box for Conor Shaughnessy to strike first time but the defender’s shot was wide of the target.
Kilmarnock were denied a certain opener on 20 minutes thanks to the heroics of John Souttar. Stephen O’Donnell got to the byline and sent a teasing ball across goal towards the unmarked Liam Millar, but an outstanding last-ditch sliding tackle took the ball off the Killie’s man’s toes and behind.
It should’ve been 1-0 Hearts seven minutes later when Alex Bruce and Daniel Bachmann hesitated at the edge of the box as a long ball came towards them, allowing Uche Ikpeazu to nip in and away from the ‘keeper, but Bruce recovered in time to block Ikpeazu’s effort when the goal was at his mercy.
The game was end to end and the visitors went straight up the park and created a chance of their own with Brophy hitting a rocket shot from just inside the Hearts box but Zlamal showed strong hands to turn the ball over the bar.
The woodwork denied Killie an opener with ten minutes of the half remaining. Greg Taylor weaved his way down the left touchline and inside before middling for Brophy to hook a shot from the middle of the box but the ball came crashing back off Zlamal’s right-hand post.
Cochrane then saw a thunderbolt drive blocked at the edge of the box before he took the second ball down and steadied himself but he tried an ambitious effort with the outside of his foot and screwed his shot well wide.
Minutes later Michael Smith and MacLean combined down the right for the latter to turn his man and send the ball into the middle for Cochrane, but with the goal in front of him he could only curl wide of the target.
There was enough time for a Killie breakaway through Mulumbu, who fed Millar down the right and his ball back across the box eventually found O’Donnell but his strike took a deflection and flew inches over the bar.
Ikpeazu was an early casualty for Hearts, two minutes into the restart, after he felt his hamstring, and Clare was introduced as both sides continued to search for that elusive first goal.
Hearts went close on 65 minutes when Jake Mulraney had acres of space down he left to float a ball into the middle for MacLean to head on target but his effort was hooked away in front of the line by a Killie defender.
The action didn’t let up at either end, with Killie passing up a good chance three minutes later. McKenzie pinged a ball to the back post for Alex Bruce to connect with but he ballooned his header over the bar.
The visitors enjoyed a period of dominance but came up against a resolute Hearts defence, and the closest they got was a Brophy effort from outside the box that was straight at Zlamal.
Substitute Olly Lee swung a free kick into the box, after Mulraney had been bodychecked by Taylor, for Berra to head goalwards but with no real power on it Bachmann was able to gather comfortably.
With four minutes remaining disaster struck. Mulumbu kept the ball under control inside the Hearts box before touching it back to Gary Dicker, whose pass was deflected back out to Findlay and he rifled an inch-perfect effort beyond Zlamal and into the corner of the net.
Hearts: Zlamal, M. Smith, Shaughnessy, Souttar, Berra, Djoum, MacLean, Ikpeazu (Clare, 48'), Cochrane (Lee, 77'), Edwards (Wighton, 83'), Mulraney. Subs: Doyle, Bozanic, Brandon, Dikamona.
Kilmarnock: Bachmann, O'Donnell, Taylor, Bruce, Power, McKenzie (Burke, 77'), Dicker, Findlay, Millar (Ndjoli, 81'), Mulumbu, Brophy (Tshibola, 90'). Subs: MacDonald, Boyd, Waters, Millen.
Referee: Kevin Clancy