Matchzone: Hearts (A)

Matchzone: Hearts (A)

The Edinburgh Fringe festival was in full flow, but there was only one show in town as Derek McInnes led his team and a loyal band of followers to the capital on Sunday 13th August.

Kilmarnock continued to gather momentum from a solid display at Tynecastle Park, earning a point in the first Super Killie Away fixture of the 2023/24 cinch Premiership campaign.

The manager named an unchanged starting XI from the side that defeated Rangers in the opening league fixture, with a settled defence securing a second clean sheet in as many games.

It was a match of half-chances, the first of which would fall in favour of the hosts with a minute on the clock. Alex Lowry’s free-kick was met by Peter Haring whose headed effort was pushed away by Will Dennis, prior to the flag being raised for offside.

The ever-reliable Lewis Mayo ended the next promising Hearts attack through a strong sliding challenge on the byline, before Killie carved opportunities of their own. At the Gorgie Road end, Robbie Deas was first to find the target for the visitors as he rose highest to direct a header goalward and into the arms of Zander Clark.

Killie continued to push on in the opening half-hour as the Jambos were forced back towards their own box. Solid defending stopped a two-on-one Killie attack led by Brad Lyons, moments before Matty Kennedy burst through the midfield and saw his strike deflected out for a corner.

It was end-to-end in the final five before the interval. A Hearts corner was glanced just wide of the far corner, which was quickly followed by Matty Kennedy’s shot from the edge of the box being tipped around the post. Kyle Magennis forced the best save of the game on the 45-minute mark when his header called Zander Clark into a full-stretch stop as he pushed away a ball directed towards his bottom corner.

An even contest in the first half, but Killie were the happier of the teams heading into the break.

Matty Kennedy was first to have a pop at goal in the second half, forcing a comfortable save from the Hearts goalie moments after the restart. His opposing number one, Will Dennis, was largely untroubled throughout the 90 minutes, but confidently dealt with the first of a few high-balls lofted into his box in the second period.

Chances were scarce approaching the final 25 minutes, enticing Stuart Findlay into an ambitious 30-yard strike which appeared to be heading for the top corner but fizzed just past the post.

Vague glimpses of goal appeared in the last quarter of an hour. Lewis Mayo connected with a ball diverted to the back post, sending his effort back across the face of goal. Matty Kennedy also had a powerful strike blocked by bodies inside the box.

Hearts dictated possession in the final stage, with Lawrence Shankland and Kenneth Vargas going closest for the Edinburgh club.

Result: Hearts 0-0 Kilmarnock

Hearts lineup: Clark, Kent, Kingsley, Haring, Shankland, Oda (Forrest 77’), Atkinson (Sibbick 77’), Devlin (Denholm 67’), Rowles, Tagawa (Vargas 67’), Lowry (Boyce 58’) 

Kilmarnock lineup: Dennis, Ndaba, Mayo, Deas, Lyons, Kennedy, Armstrong (Donnelly 90’), Watson, Magennis (McKenzie 87’), Findlay, Watkins (Vassell 72’)

Attendance: 18,455

Post-match comments

Speaking at full-time, Derek McInnes emphasised that his side wouldn’t be over-celebrating a point, but felt it was important to recognize a “big performance”. You can listen to the full interview – HERE.

Match gallery

Check out the best shots of the day, courtesy of club photographer Ross MacKenzie.