in #KillieStories August 13, 2017
Alan Cochrane @ Rugby Park
A defensive lapse after only five minutes, when centre-backs Broadfoot and Greer got too far apart, allowed Esmael Goncalves to slip through and score what turned out to be the only goal of the game. The next 89 minutes (there were four additional minutes at the end), were frustrating for the majority of the 5000 supporters in the ground. For those in maroon at one end however, their team’s first victory under the stewardship of John Daly, came as a welcome relief.
For the rest of the first half, in fact for most of the game, there was more effort than skill on show, and that was typified by a double sending-off, 20 minutes from time. Before that though, Kilmarnock chased the game, with McKenzie, Boyd and Thomas in particular causing the visitors problems, while Hearts attacking on the break tried to exploit the gaps inevitably left. Jamie MacDonald at one point had to sprint well outside his area to put in a good tackle on Goncalves who had been put through by Lafferty.
Jordan Jones came on for Chris Burke at half time, and his pace was a factor Hearts struggled to deal with at times, and a terrific double save from Hamilton when he twice beat away shots from Rory McKenzie kept the visitors lead intact. Jamie MacDonald also was on his mettle with a good save from Goncalves, as the game opened up and chances began to appear. Mr Finnie was not having an easy time either as his dishing out of yellow cards showed, and he also decided he had to send off both Goncalves and Broadfoot after they tangled inside Killie’s half, but both sides playing with ten men didn't affect the game that much for the last 20 minutes. With a few minutes left, Jones cut in from the left but his shot went over the bar, and that was the last chance the home side had to salvage a point.
Lee McCulloch was disappointed at the end. “To concede a goal after five minutes, with a bit of miscommunication from the centre-halfs, it was a bad goal to lose. That was after talking all week about how we start the game. After that though, we looked good, looked a threat, and Rory McKenzie should have scored. If that had gone in, it would have been a very different final 20 minutes. The signs are there however, that week by week, we are improving. It will come.”
Kilmarnock: MacDonald, Taylor (O’Donnell), Broadfoot, Boyd, McKenzie, Thomas, Burke (Jones), Erwin, Greer, Wilson (Samizadeh), Frizzell
Hearts: Hamilton, Smith, Souter, Lafferty (Stockton), Berra, Djoum, Cowie (Martin), Randall, Grzelak, Brandon (Nowak), Goncalves
Referee: Stephen Finnie
Ross Mackenzie's match pics