Scottish Premiership
HeartsHeart of Midlothian0KilmarnockKilmarnock1

Hearts 0-1 Kilmarnock: Premiership leaders slump to third defeat in four games

By Clive LindsayBBC Sport

Scottish Premiership leaders Hearts slumped to a second successive defeat thanks to Ross Millen's first goal for Kilmarnock.

Hearts had the slightly better of the 72 minutes before Millen fired a powerful drive low under the body of goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal.

Chris Burke, who set up the goal, was denied within two minutes by Zlamal.

Hearts had the better of the chances thereafter but lacked a finishing touch.

It leaves Craig Levein's side only one point ahead of reigning champions Celtic, who can go top if they win away to Livingston - one of two games they have in hand over the Edinburgh outfit.

Kilmarnock move up to third - two points behind their hosts - after ending their own run of three games without a win and extending their unbeaten run at Tynecastle to three games.

Killie's changes come up trumps

Hearts' four-game run without a win - all without scoring a goal - has coincided with the loss of several key players, with the absence of Scotland international Steven Naismith and fellow striker Uche Ikpeazu being particularly felt during four games without a goal.

So it was to be again against a well-organised visiting side they had not scored more than once against in their last six meetings.

Levein made four changes from the side that were thumped 5-0 last weekend by Celtic, but it was counterpart Steve Clarke who sprung the bigger surprises.

Jamie MacDonald was replaced with Daniel Bachmann despite it being a week when he was recalled to the Scotland squad, the goalkeeper perhaps paying for last weekend's loss to Aberdeen.

Northern Ireland winger Jordan Jones was also dropped to the bench and Scotland right-back Stephen O'Donnell was an absentee through injury.

Jones' replacement, Mikael Ndoli, was immediately involved as Hearts had the first of a series of appeals for a penalty turned down after his challenge on Callumn Morrison.

Kilmarnock raced up the other end and Burke's shot was blocked superbly by Zlamal after the winger was found in the clear by Aaron Tshibola's defence-splitting pass.

That set the tone for the game - flowing moves, quick counter-attacks, some clever play but few clear-cut chances.

Despite their recent hiccups, Clarke's side had only lost one of their six away games this season and they put on another resolute display on the road.

When Arnaud Djoum did split the visiting defence with a fine pass just before the break, Bachmann did well to save from Ben Garuccio, while Steven MacLean was thwarted by an offside flag when Hearts finally did find the net.

The stage was set for Millen to make the most of his chance to start thanks to O'Donnell's injury as he beat Zlamal to score his first goal for Kilmarnock since his surprise move from amateurs Queen's Park this summer.

Killie steadfast, Hearts must regroup - analysis

BBC Scotland's Brian McLaughlin at Tynecastle Stadium

With neither side recording a win on their previous three matches this was always going to be a tight affair and, over the piece, it was Kilmarnock who were able to make the best of the few clear-cut opportunities.

Despite his advancing years, Kilmarnock striker Kris Boyd showed throughout that he is more than a handful for Premiership defences, but it was the Kilmarnock defence who were the real heroes on the day.

Kirk Broadfoot and Stuart Findlay had an outstanding 90 minutes, with Greg Taylor and Millen, who raced from one end of the pitch to the other to score the only goal of the game, making up the back four for Killie.

Hearts will play better and lose games, but without the services of Christophe Berra, John Souttar and talisman Steven Naismith, they lose a critical part of their team.

The international break is coming at the right time for Levein to give his beleaguered squad some time off and come back refreshed for what will be a busy spell of fixtures up to the end of December.

Line-ups

Hearts

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Zlamal
  • 2Smith
  • 28Dikamona
  • 3Dunne
  • 17GaruccioBooked at 83minsSubstituted forMitchellat 86'minutes
  • 38MorrisonSubstituted forMcDonaldat 68'minutes
  • 5HaringBooked at 19mins
  • 8Lee
  • 10Sutchuin-Djoum
  • 15WightonBooked at 79mins
  • 18MacLeanSubstituted forClareat 83'minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Bozanic
  • 9Clare
  • 11Mitchell
  • 13Doyle
  • 16Hughes
  • 20Cochrane
  • 21McDonald

Kilmarnock

Formation 4-5-1

  • 26Bachmann
  • 22MillenBooked at 74mins
  • 5Broadfoot
  • 17Findlay
  • 3Taylor
  • 29BurkeSubstituted forMcKenzieat 75'minutes
  • 27Tshibola
  • 8Dicker
  • 6Power
  • 12NdjoliSubstituted forWilsonat 90+2'minutes
  • 9BoydSubstituted forJonesat 79'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1MacDonald
  • 4Byrne
  • 7McKenzie
  • 10Kiltie
  • 11Jones
  • 16Boyd
  • 20Wilson
Referee:
Don Robertson
Attendance:
17,417

Match Stats

Home TeamHeartsAway TeamKilmarnock
Possession
Home62%
Away38%
Shots
Home13
Away9
Shots on Target
Home3
Away4
Corners
Home4
Away4
Fouls
Home12
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Heart of Midlothian 0, Kilmarnock 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Heart of Midlothian 0, Kilmarnock 1.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Djoum (Heart of Midlothian).

  4. Post update

    Jordan Jones (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  5. Substitution

    Substitution, Kilmarnock. Iain Wilson replaces Mikael Ndjoli.

  6. Post update

    Attempt missed. Olly Lee (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.

  7. Post update

    Sean Clare (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Aaron Tshibola (Kilmarnock).

  9. Post update

    Hand ball by Mikael Ndjoli (Kilmarnock).

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Sean Clare (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

  11. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Craig Wighton (Heart of Midlothian) header from the centre of the box is blocked.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Michael Smith (Heart of Midlothian).

  13. Post update

    Jordan Jones (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Demetri Mitchell replaces Ben Garuccio.

  15. Booking

    Ben Garuccio (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Sean Clare replaces Steven MacLean.

  17. Post update

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

  18. Post update

    Mikael Ndjoli (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Jimmy Dunne (Heart of Midlothian).

  20. Post update

    Attempt saved. Craig Wighton (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Hearts138231913626
2Celtic118122762125
3Kilmarnock137331912724
4St Johnstone137241618-223
5Rangers1163225101521
6Aberdeen126331610621
7Hibernian125342112918
8Livingston11533127518
9Motherwell113261115-411
10Hamilton13319928-1910
11St Mirren131210626-205
12Dundee131111630-244
View full Scottish Premiership table

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