Heart of Midlothian 0-1 Kilmarnock
Saturday 10th November 2018, KO 15:00 | Ladbrokes Premiership | Tynecastle Park
Hearts fell to defeat at home to Kilmarnock at Tynecastle Park this afternoon.
The Jambos dominated the match but couldn’t find a way through a stubborn Killie defence, only to be hit by Ross Millen’s late sucker punch.
Craig Levein made four changes from the side that lost at Celtic last week;
Ben Garuccio came in for Demi Mitchell while Olly Lee returned to the starting line-up ahead of Harry Cochrane. Callumn Morrison slotted in for Jake Mulraney, and Craig Wighton was handed his second start for the club, replacing Sean Clare.
A frantic opening two minutes saw two major talking points. Firstly, Morrison darted into the Killie box before being bundled over by Aaron Tshibola but referee Don Roberston waved play on.
The visitors then went straight up the park and created a great opportunity, with Chris Burke getting on the end of a defence-splitting pass, only to be stopped by Bobby Zlamal, who pulled off a superb save with right leg.
Hearts had another penalty shout turned down after seven minutes. Steven MacLean brought down a ball into the box and appeared to his legs swiped by Kris Boyd, but again, the decision was play on.
The Jambos went close to opening the scoring on 11 minutes. Garuccio’s cross was deflected into the path of Peter Haring, who took a touch before striking a sweet half-volley from 25-yards, only to see it fly inches wide of Daniel Bachmann’s right-hand post.
A lovely passing move nearly saw the opener for Hearts. Michael Smith’s pass to the edge of the box was dummied by MacLean into the path of Arnaud Djoum, who sent it into the box for the striker to get round the back and middle it, but no maron shirt could get on the end of it.
From there, Wighton skinned his man on the left before driving on target but the ball flew past the target.
It was all Hearts by the half hour mark, with the men in maroon spraying the ball around the pitch. One such flowing move ended with Wighton in possession at the edge of the box and his snapshot towards goal hit the side net.
Killie looked dangerous on the break, with Tshibola flying down Hearts’ right wing, shrugging off Morrison’s challenge to get to the edge of the box before smacking the ball over the bar.
Bachmann came to Killie’s rescue with five minutes of the half remaining. Djoum showed bravery and strength to win the ball in the middle of the park and drove to the box before slipping in Garuccio, but the Kilmarnock ‘keeper was quick off his line to close the angle and made a good block from the Australian.
Hearts started the second half where they left off in the first. Less than a minute in, Wighton flicked on Djoum’s ball down the line to Garuccio, who crossed into the box but the ball was just too high for Olly Lee, who couldn’t connect with his head.
Four minutes later Killie went close with a chance of their own, after Boyd’s thunderbolt from a set piece lay off flew just wide of Zlamal’s left-hand post.
The Jambos continued to bombard the Killie half, looking for that elusive first goal. Lee floated a 55th minute corner for Dunne, but he looped his header onto the roof of the net.
Moments later Mikael Ndjoli tried his luck from distance, hitting a great curling shot but failed to find the target.
Hearts did have the ball in the back of the net just before the hour mark when the unmarked MacLean turned home Dunne’s flick on from Garuccio’s cross, but he was flagged for offside.
Haring made Bachmann work in the 70th minute with a thunderbolt drive from the long-range, which the ‘keeper could only push up into the air and gather on the second attempt.
Disaster struck in the 72nd minute when Kilmarnock took the lead completely against the run of play. Greg Taylor managed to evade the challenge of Smith on the right before sending the ball into the box for Burke to tee up Millen, who blasted through Zlamal from eight yards.
Lady luck didn’t appear to be on Hearts’ side as they pushed for the equaliser. Wighton got the ball at the edge of the box before squaring to Haring and getting it back again but his shot bounced up off a Killie shirt and Bachmann pounced to make the save.
With two minutes remaining Hearts had one cleared off the line. A hanging cross into the box was challenged for by Bachmann and Haring, neither came off victorious with the ball breaking to Wighton, who headed towards goal but saw it hoofed off the line by a Killie defender.
The equaliser never materialised in the final few moments and Hearts fell to a first home defeat in six months.
Hearts: Zlamal, Smith, Dunne, Haring, Lee, Djoum, Wighton, Garuccio (Mitchell, 85'), MacLean (Clare, 82'), Dikamona, Morrison (McDonald, 68'). Subs: Doyle, Bozanic, Clare, Hughes, Cochrane.
Kilmarnock: Bachmann, Taylor, Broadfoot, Power, Dicker, K.Boyd (Jones, 79') , Ndjoli (Wilson, 90'), Findlay, Millen, Tshibola, Burke (McKenzie, 73'). Subs: MacDonald, Byrne, McKenzie, Kiltie, S. Boyd.
Referee: Don Robertson