Scottish Premiership
HeartsHeart of Midlothian2KilmarnockKilmarnock3

Hearts 2-3 Kilmarnock: Visitors earn first away win since October

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland at Tynecastle

Hearts slumped to the bottom of the Scottish Premiership once again despite a late rally against Kilmarnock.

The Ayrshire side were cruising thanks to goals by Stuart Findlay, Chris Burke and Eamonn Brophy inside 50 minutes.

But Sean Clare pulled one back from the spot with 10 to go, before Kilmarnock goalkeeper Laurentiu Branescu was shown a second yellow card.

And although Craig Halkett volleyed in a second, the visitors held on for their second consecutive victory.

It gave Kilmarnock their first away win since the same fixture in October, as Daniel Stendel's Hearts suffered their first loss of 2020.

It also means the Ayrshire side have now won as many games as Tynecastle this season as Hearts have.

Ayrshire side edge Tynecastle thriller

Kilmarnock boss Alex Dyer spoke pre-match about the change in style from Hearts since Stendel's arrival, and that was evident from the first whistle as the home side laid siege on the visitors' goal.

In the opening 30 seconds, Liam Boyce set up Steven Naismith inside the box, only for the visitors to clear away for a corner.

Euan Henderson was next to have a go. The teenager made a strong run from midfield, forcing Branescu in the Kilmarnock goal to dive at full-stretch to push the ball round a post.

Kilmarnock, though, were also proving dangerous, and the strength of Alan Power and Gary Dicker in midfield had the Hearts youngsters under pressure.

Rory McKenzie had the first attempt on goal for Kilmarnock, which was deflected over by Clare, and eventually the visitors took the lead.

As so often this season, Burke was the provider. His corner from the left took a deflection off a Hearts defender and, with the ball looping into the box, Findlay rose high to head into the net.

And the Ayrshire side doubled their advantage before the break with a wonderful second. Power launched a high ball from the Kilmarnock half and Burke took a magnificent first touch before clipping it over the goalkeeper and into the empty net.

Stat

Five minutes into the second half, the game appeared to be over as a contest when Brophy snatched a third.

The striker was allowed to turn on the edge of the 18-yard box, and fire in an effort with his weaker left foot that Joel Pereira should have gathered, but his attempt at making the save was poor.

Stendel made an immediate switch with the ineffective Marcel Langer - on his first start - replaced by Uche Ikpeazu and Conor Washington on for Henderson.

Hearts' win over Rangers in front of their own fans just 10 days ago seemed a distant memory, as Kilmarnock maintained their superiority.

Jamie Walker came on and there was a chink of light when referee David Munro adjudged that Branescu had brought down Washington inside the box. The keeper was yellow-carded for the challenge, and Clare stepped up and slotted the ball into the right-hand corner.

The goalkeeper's night was over as well when he was shown his second yellow for throwing the ball away as Clare attempted to retrieve it out of the net.

And with 90 seconds left, Hearts pulled themselves back into the match with a dramatic second goal.

Walker cut the ball back and, although it was missed by the head of Boyce, Halkett fired a right-footed shot beyond substitute goalkeeper Jan Koprivec.

The goal raised the hopes of the home fans as they looked for a grandstand finish. Boyce snatched at the ball from close range, before Washington tested the keeper with a header.

However, on the full time whistle it was the Kilmarnock fans who were jubilant as Hearts slumped once again to the bottom of the Premiership.

Man of the match - Eamonn Brophy

You could pick anyone of the 11 Kilmarnock players, as they took control of the match after an initial burst from the home side. Defensively they were strong, with Findlay and Dario Del Fabro giving little away at the back, while Power and Dicker had a stranglehold in midfield.

But the award goes to Brophy, who worked his socks off from the outset. His pace troubled the Hearts defence all night and his partnership with the excellent Nicke Kabamba could prove fruitful in the final few months of then season.

'We need to keep our feet on the ground' - reaction

Hearts made it 'too easy' for Kilmarnock - Stendel

Hearts manager Daniel Stendel: "We started very well, and controlled the game. We conceded around six or seven corners and it's too much, and we conceded goals that were too easy.

"For us we need to play better and defence better. The next game is in the cup and we have the chance to get a new start, but today we are all disappointed."

Kilmarnock manager Alex Dyer: "The last 10 minutes we were under a bit of pressure, but you'd expect that coming here. The boys stuck in and put in a good performance to take the three points.

"We've had two good wins now, two very good wins. Our aim is always to get in the top six, but before that we need to look the other way. It's important we keep our feet on the ground."

Kilmarnock 'brilliant from first minute' against Hearts - Dyer

Line-ups

Hearts

  • 23Castro Pereira
  • 8ClareBooked at 34mins
  • 26Halkett
  • 4SouttarBooked at 47mins
  • 3White
  • 32LangerSubstituted forIkpeazuat 52'minutes
  • 40IrvingBooked at 86mins
  • 27MooreSubstituted forWalkerat 68'minutes
  • 14NaismithBooked at 65mins
  • 41HendersonSubstituted forWashingtonat 62'minutes
  • 29Boyce

Substitutes

  • 1Zlamal
  • 7Bozanic
  • 9Washington
  • 10Walker
  • 19Ikpeazu
  • 28Dikamona
  • 77Meshino

Kilmarnock

  • 12BranescuBooked at 80mins
  • 2O'Donnell
  • 26Del Fabro
  • 17FindlaySubstituted forBroadfootat 66'minutes
  • 14Hämäläinen
  • 29Burke
  • 6PowerBooked at 52mins
  • 8Dicker
  • 7McKenzieSubstituted forKoprivecat 81'minutes
  • 27Kabamba
  • 9BrophySubstituted forKiltieat 75'minutes

Substitutes

  • 10Kiltie
  • 19Broadfoot
  • 22Millen
  • 24Koprivec
  • 25St. Clair
  • 33Taylor
  • 52Connell
Referee:
David Munro
Attendance:
16,211

Match Stats

Home TeamHeartsAway TeamKilmarnock
Possession
Home69%
Away31%
Shots
Home18
Away8
Shots on Target
Home8
Away4
Corners
Home12
Away6
Fouls
Home15
Away9

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Heart of Midlothian 2, Kilmarnock 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Heart of Midlothian 2, Kilmarnock 3.

  3. Post update

    Attempt saved. Craig Halkett (Heart of Midlothian) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Aidan White with a cross.

  4. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Uche Ikpeazu (Heart of Midlothian) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Andrew Irving with a cross.

  5. Post update

    John Souttar (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Alan Power (Kilmarnock).

  7. Post update

    Foul by Aidan White (Heart of Midlothian).

  8. Post update

    Stephen O'Donnell (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Goal!

    Goal! Heart of Midlothian 2, Kilmarnock 3. Craig Halkett (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Jamie Walker with a cross.

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. Conor Washington (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner.

  11. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Conor Washington (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Sean Clare with a cross.

  12. Post update

    Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Niko Hämäläinen.

  13. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

  14. Booking

    Andrew Irving (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  15. Post update

    Attempt saved. Andrew Irving (Heart of Midlothian) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Uche Ikpeazu.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Uche Ikpeazu (Heart of Midlothian).

  17. Post update

    Dario Del Fabro (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Attempt missed. Liam Boyce (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Sean Clare with a cross.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Kilmarnock. Jan Koprivec replaces Rory McKenzie.

  20. Dismissal

    Second yellow card to Laurentiu Branescu (Kilmarnock).

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