Ryan Stevenson scored a hat-trick as Hearts crushed sorry Kilmarnock and cranked up the Ayrshire side's relegation play-off fears.

The already-relegated hosts were streets ahead of Killie and Stevenson's treble was the least they deserved for their energetic first-half display.

Billy King and Callum Paterson added further goals after the break.

Killie remain in the play-off spot and the result means St Mirren's safety in the top flight has been secured.

Billy King hits the fourth

Billy King nets the fourth for Hearts

The Buddies can no longer finish in 11th place, with two rounds of fixtures to play.

Kilmarnock went into this one having won the three previous meetings of the sides this season, but had lost five of their last six league games.

Hearts, meanwhile, were unbeaten in five and had won four of those.

A minute's silence was held before kick-off in memory of Hearts, Rangers and Scotland player Sandy Jardine, who died last month.

The pattern of play was set from the first whistle as the hosts piled forward, determined to test the nerves of the visitors.

And the home side grabbed the goal their early dominance merited after 11 minutes.

Rory McKenzie downed Sam Nicholson on the edge of the area and Stevenson's free-kick from the angle found its way through a packed box to beat Craig Samson.

Hearts kept the pressure on and Killie could not capitalise on their first real look at goal, when Sammy Clingan knocked a 25-yard free-kick over the bar.

That foray forward gave the visitors a bit of belief and Kris Boyd tried an overhead kick from Clingan's corner, but the ball dropped on to the roof of the net.

And Hearts soon cashed in on some woeful Killie defending to double their advantage. Nicholson delivered into the area and when the visitors failed to clear, Stevenson slammed a left-foot shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

Kilmarnock offered a threat at the other end when Boyd drilled in a shot that Jamie MacDonald had to turn round the post.

The visitors then had a penalty claim when Chris Johnston went down under Paterson's challenge, but referee Calum Murray ignored the appeals.

Callum Paterson finishes to make it 5-0

Defender Callum Paterson rounds off the scoring with Hearts' fifth goal

Hearts finished the half as they started as Dale Carrick's delightful touch and pass sent Billy King darting away. He fed Stevenson, who was denied his hat-trick by a decent stop from Samson.

But Stevenson's treble was only delayed by a matter of seconds, as he knocked the ball out to King and then raced into the area to finish on the six-yard line.

The visitors were looking for a major improvement in the second 45 minutes but their sloppiness continued as Manuel Pascali's poor pass allowed Hearts to break with Nicholson setting up Stevenson, whose effort clipped the post.

Stevenson then turned provider after a lightning counter-attack, setting up King to crash in the fourth.

The visitors threw on Alexei Eremenko but there was no stopping the one-way traffic towards their goal with Hearts hitting their fifth just before the hour.

Paterson cleared the ball from his own box then burst forward into the Killie area, where he finished from Stevenson's delivery.

Killie tried to shore things up at the back to help their goal difference and Hearts took their foot off the gas as the clocked ticked down.

They still had chances to add to their tally, however, and could have added more goals with a little more care in the final third.

Lineup, Bookings (1) & Substitutions (6)

Heart of Midlothian

  • 01 MacDonald
  • 12 Paterson
  • 03 McHattie
  • 08 Robinson
  • 05 McGowan
  • 04 Wilson
  • 18 Carrick (Oliver - 78' )
  • 15 Holt
  • 28 Nicholson
  • 07 Stevenson (Hamill - 87' )
  • 19 King (Smith - 72' )

Substitutes

  • 02 Hamill
  • 13 Ridgers
  • 14 Walker
  • 16 McKay
  • 17 Smith
  • 29 Oliver
  • 30 McGhee

Kilmarnock

  • 01 Samson
  • 15 Barbour
  • 02 Tesselaar
  • 28 Slater
  • 29 Pascali Booked
  • 22 Maksimenko
  • 18 McKenzie (Ashcroft - 63' )
  • 08 Clingan
  • 09 Boyd (Gros - 69' )
  • 33 Muirhead (Eremenko - 57' )
  • 10 Johnston

Substitutes

  • 04 Fowler
  • 07 Nicholson
  • 11 Gros
  • 12 Reguero Chapinal
  • 14 Moberg-Karlsson
  • 20 Eremenko
  • 30 Ashcroft
Ref: Calum Murray
Att: 13,656

Match Stats

Shots

11 10

On target

7 2

Corners

3 5

Fouls

12 10

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Hearts 5, Kilmarnock 0.

90:00 +1:50 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Hearts 5, Kilmarnock 0.

86:43

Attempt blocked. Jason Holt (Hearts) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

86:19 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Hearts. Jamie Hamill replaces Ryan Stevenson.

85:56

Corner, Hearts. Conceded by Ross Barbour.

84:43

Attempt saved. Craig Slater (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

81:07

Attempt missed. Craig Slater (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

81:00

Manuel Pascali (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

80:56

Foul by Ryan Stevenson (Hearts).

79:15

Foul by Sam Nicholson (Hearts).

79:15

Chris Johnston (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

77:53 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Hearts. Gary Oliver replaces Dale Carrick.

75:14

Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

75:14

Foul by Manuel Pascali (Kilmarnock).

74:29

Foul by Kevin McHattie (Hearts).

74:29

William Gros (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the left wing.

73:51

Kevin McHattie (Hearts) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

73:51

Foul by Craig Slater (Kilmarnock).

73:12

Foul by Dale Carrick (Hearts).

73:12

Vitalijs Maksimenko (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

71:49 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Hearts. David Smith replaces Billy King.

71:15

Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

71:15

Foul by Manuel Pascali (Kilmarnock).

68:03 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Kilmarnock. William Gros replaces Kris Boyd.

66:34

Foul by Chris Johnston (Kilmarnock).

66:34

Callum Paterson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

65:49

Attempt missed. Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

64:47

Kevin McHattie (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

64:47

Foul by Craig Slater (Kilmarnock).

62:05 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Kilmarnock. Lee Ashcroft replaces Rory McKenzie.

59:09 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Hearts 5, Kilmarnock 0. Callum Paterson (Hearts) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ryan Stevenson.

56:20 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Kilmarnock. Alexei Eremenko replaces Robbie Muirhead.

55:33 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Hearts 4, Kilmarnock 0. Billy King (Hearts) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ryan Stevenson.

54:08

Attempt missed. Kevin McHattie (Hearts) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

52:45

Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) hits the right post with a right footed shot from the centre of the box.

50:38

Attempt missed. Robbie Muirhead (Kilmarnock) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

48:04

Sam Nicholson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

48:04

Foul by Manuel Pascali (Kilmarnock).

46:11

Foul by Dylan McGowan (Hearts).

46:11

Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:00

Second Half begins Hearts 3, Kilmarnock 0.

45:00 +1:12 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Hearts 3, Kilmarnock 0.

45:00 +0:37 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Hearts 3, Kilmarnock 0. Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Billy King with a cross.

43:56

Attempt missed. Danny Wilson (Hearts) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

43:46

Corner, Hearts. Conceded by Craig Samson.

43:34

Attempt saved. Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

42:57

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Kevin McHattie.

41:00

Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

40:59

Foul by Chris Johnston (Kilmarnock).

40:07

Attempt missed. Sammy Clingan (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.

39:49

Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

39:49

Foul by Jason Holt (Hearts).

37:29

Foul by Jeroen Tesselaar (Kilmarnock).

37:29

Sam Nicholson (Hearts) wins a free kick on the left wing.

37:08

Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

37:08

Foul by Jason Holt (Hearts).

35:31

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Jamie MacDonald.

35:09

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Jamie MacDonald.

34:59

Attempt saved. Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

32:38

Manuel Pascali (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the left wing.

32:38

Foul by Dale Carrick (Hearts).

30:30

Attempt missed. Vitalijs Maksimenko (Kilmarnock) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is close, but misses the top left corner.

29:44

Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the right wing.

29:44

Foul by Sam Nicholson (Hearts).

24:59 Booking

Booking Manuel Pascali (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card.

24:53

Sam Nicholson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

24:53

Foul by Manuel Pascali (Kilmarnock).

23:24 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Hearts 2, Kilmarnock 0. Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner.

22:17

Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the left wing.

22:17

Foul by Callum Paterson (Hearts).

19:00

Attempt missed. Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

18:32

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Scott Robinson.

18:16

Attempt blocked. Robbie Muirhead (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

13:57

Attempt missed. Sammy Clingan (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

13:14

Foul by Danny Wilson (Hearts).

13:14

Chris Johnston (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

12:07

Foul by Kevin McHattie (Hearts).

12:07

Vitalijs Maksimenko (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the right wing.

10:26 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Hearts 1, Kilmarnock 0. Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.

9:45

Sam Nicholson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

9:45

Foul by Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock).

5:47

Corner, Hearts. Conceded by Manuel Pascali.

3:21

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Jason Holt.

1:15

Attempt saved. Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

Live data and text provided by our data suppliers