Hearts and Kilmarnock played out a 2-2 draw at Rugby Park on Saturday.
Killie took the lead through Conrad Balatoni, but were pegged back by Gavin Reilly’s equaliser on half time. The Jambos got their noses in front thanks to Callum Paterson’s 55th minute strike, but the hosts levelled with 11 minutes remaining through Josh Magennis’ header.
Robbie Neilson made four changes to the side that was victorious in midweek against Dundee United; Paterson and Blazej Augystyn returned to the defence in the place of Jordan McGhee and Alim Ozturk, Arnaud Djoum slotted in for Morgaro Gomis while Juanma replaced Osman Sow.
A scrappy opening quarter saw neither side threaten, until Josh Magennis got on the end of Tope Obadeyi’s pass into the box, but his low shot was blocked by the legs of Neil Alexander.
Hearts’ best chance of the first half came in the 36th minute. Juanma carried the ball deep into the Killie half before playing a one-two with Djoum, but a perfectly timed Kevin McHattie sliding tackle stopped the Spaniard in his tracks as he burst through on goal.
Before the half was out, Kilmarnock took the lead. The home side won possession at the edge of the box and a low ball was sent across the face of goal, and though Balatoni saw his initial flick saved by Alexander, he hammered home the rebound right on the goal-line.
Three minutes into stoppage time, Hearts got back on level terms. Nicholson burst down the left and cut inside before turning back to cross into the middle of the box where he found King, whose first-time shot hit the post but Reilly was on hand to stab home the rebound from close range.
The Jambos took the lead ten minutes into the restart. A loose ball inside the Killie box was drilled goalwards by Buaben but Jamie MacDonald made a great point-blank save, clearing the ball to the edge of the box, where Paterson took touches with nearly every body part before volleying clean into the corner of the net.
A mazy run from Nicholson saw him go close, as sprinted a good 40-yards from the left touchline across the face of goal, before pulling the trigger and blasting wide from 18-yards.
Killie had the woodwork to thank for keeping the score at 2-1. Nicholson’s corner found Igor Rossi, and the Brazilian’s header looped over MacDonald but crashed back off the crossbar.
The home side did threaten, with Balatoni heading inches over from a corner as they went in search of an equaliser.
And they got that equaliser with eleven minutes to go. Stevie Smith’s inswinging corner was met by Magennis, who headed high beyond Alexander and into the net.
Both teams strived to clinch the match, but no breakthrough was made. The Jambos may feel their play merited all three points, but they left Rugby Park with only one.
Kilmarnock: MacDonald, Smith, Obadeyi (McKenzie, 31'), Ashcroft, Slater (Boyd, 73'), McHattie, Kiltie, Syme, Balatoni, Magennis, Frizzell. Subs: Ridgers, Findlay, Barbour, Splaine, Carrick.
Hearts: Alexander, Paterson, Augstyn, Rossi, Oshaniwa, Buaben, Djoum, King (Sow, 55'), Nicholson, Reilly (Zanatta, 74'), Juanma. Subs: Hamilton, Ozturk, McGhee, Gomis, Pallardo.
Referee: Alan Muir
Top man: Sam Nicholson