No. of Shots
Shots on Target
Jamie MacDonald, Mark O'Hara (Julien Faubert 28), Conrad Balatoni, Stuart Findlay , Lee Hodson, Craig Slater (Kris Boyd 64), Kevin McHattie, Rory McKenzie, Greg Kiltie, Tope Obadeyi, Josh Magennis .
Subs Not Used: Conor Brennan, Dale Carrick, Lee Ashcroft, Adam Frizzell, Kallum Higginbotham.
Alan Walker @ Tynecastle
Killie returned to Tynecastle with a new manager in Lee Clark, a new superstar French midfielder in Julien Faubert, but left with the old feeling of déja-vu.
Clark waxed lyrical about having a whole week with the team, and being able to imprint his style of play and his ideas on them but injury concerns meant that his team line-up might have been a little different from what he had in mind. The injured Smith was replaced by Kevin McHattie at left-back, and Rory McKenzie was replaced by Mark O’Hara. O’Hara seemed to be playing high up in midfield, just behind ‘striker’ Josh Magennis, with Greg Kiltie and Tope Obadeyi taking the winger roles and Craig Slater and Gary Dicker taking the central midfield roles.
The game itself began with a minute's applause for former Killie and Hearts player Jim McFadzean who sadly passed away this week. Killie started off brightly, with O’Hara chasing everything down and Dicker doing well to break up play in the midfield. Kiltie was causing problems down the right wing and sent in a low cross for Obadeyi. His first touch was woeful, but the ball broke kindly to Slater who shot first time. His shot, however, went well wide. That was the last we saw of Slater till he was replaced by Boyd on the 65th minute.
Killie were made to pay for Slater’s miss just a couple of minutes later. Alim Ozturk sent a long ball forward for Prince Buaben which split the Killie defence. Stuart Findlay caught up with him and after the deftest of touches on his shoulder, Buaben went down like a sack of maroon-coloured faeces. Penalty to Hearts, yellow card for Findlay who might be lucky since Buaben was in for a clear (to this correspondent) goal scoring opportunity.
Jamie Walker took the penalty, but his namesake Jamie MacDonald made a great save to his left, pushing the ball onto the post. However, the ball fell to Walker again who mishit the ball back towards goal and into the back of the net.
The referee was blowing for a lot of soft fouls and when McHattie tried to fall down in the middle of the pitch, he was surprised not to hear the whistle. Instead Duada raced forward with support in the form of Nichsolson. However, Lee Hodson managed to track back fast enough to get a foot in. Nevertheless, the ball broke to Walker but his shot was well saved again by MacDonald.
Clark had seen enough by this point and took off O’Hara for new signing Faubert. This was harsh on the youngster who had not been playing badly, especially in comparison to the hard-to-find Slater.
As mentioned, ref Don Robertson was a little whistle-happy, and this was aided by Hearts players falling over at the slightest hint of physical contact. Such a blatant dive was again awarded on the 44th minute with a free kick just outside the Killie box. Ozturk stepped up but his curling shot was well saved by Jamie MacDonald, low to his left.
Soon after, Nicholson had Hodson at sixes and sevens down the left. His low shot was again saved by MacDonald. The ball broke out to Paterson who shot well wide. Killie went into the dressing room thanking MacDonald for keeping them within touching distance of Hearts, but with a lot still to do.
The second half started much the way the first half ended: with Hearts attacking. Paterson sent in a beautiful cross from the right-wing which Nicholson met with his head. MacDonald was well beaten but the ball hit the inside of the post, along the goal-line and away from danger.
Obadeyi looked to be one of Killie’s better players, although his final ball and decision making still looks rather suspect at times. On the 60th minute, he showed great strength to hold off Paterson and race into the box. However, he shot to the near post went the wrong side of the woodwork and the chance was lost.
Hearts weren’t playing beautiful football, and it is perhaps surprising just how high up the league they are. Their route one football was almost awarded though when Hodson tried to head a long ball back to MacDonald. The header was short and Nicholson had chanced on that. He raced through on goal, MacDonald closed and Nichsolson tried a cheeky chip. The ball was goal-bounded but Findlay had tracked back fast enough to clear the ball off the line.
Magennis was having another work-hard achieve-nothing day. This was exemplified when he collected a ball down the right-wing. He showed great strength to hold off his man and burst into the box. However, his shot from the tightest of angles went out for a throw-in, when perhaps a pass would have been the smarter option.
Lee Clark perhaps noticed this, or perhaps noticed that Craig Slater was still on the pitch when he made his next change on the 65th minute. Boyd came on for Slater, Magennis was punted out wide and Boyd took the sole-striker role.
However, things went from bad to worse for Magennis on the 80th minute. From a Hearts corner, Walker swung it into the near post. Rossi left his Magennis shaped marker and got on the end of his cross, but that was then blocked by the outstretched arm of Magennis, who was trying desperately to catch up with his man. Straight to the spot, pointed Don Robertson for Heart’s FIFTEENTH penalty of the season.
Dauda took this penalty but again MacDonald saved, this time low to his left, turning the ball on to the post. Rossi got on the end of the rebound this time, but MacDonald had recovered in time to save again.
Killie had a late rally but headers from Stuart Findlay and Gary Dicker were easily saved by cobweb-covered Neil Alexander.
It finished 1-0, with Killie conceding another goal from a set-play which is encouraging/disappointing depending on your point of view. Meanwhile, all the closest teams to Killie picked up points and Killie are getting closer and closer to real ‘must win’ territory. First of those is against Ross County, who will be smarting after being thumped by relegation candidates Dundee United at the weekend.
On a final note, I mentioned in my last report that it seems like Hearts players never change; they always seem to be dirty players. In light of allegations made by Josh Magennis after the game, it would appear the same goes for a minority of Hearts fans. Police are currently investigating alleged racial abuse toward the Northern Irish striker. Let’s hope that the perpetrator is identified and punished as fitting of the crime.
Lee Clark: "We can only affect our own results, but there is definitely enough here and we just have to believe we have got enough. I do and the staff do, and we've got to keep ploughing on. This was always going to be a tough game and we have more than held our own. I think we put them under pressure without testing their goalkeeper enough. But I feel we deserved something from the game, for sure."
Also of Note: Kilmarnock striker Josh Magennis has made a police complaint, alleging he was racially abused from a section of the Hearts support during Saturday's 1-0 defeat. The incident originated in the Wheatfield stand at Tynecastle. Both Premiership clubs have confirmed that they are aware of a complaint but would not comment further. A police spokesman said: We can confirm we have received a report of racial abuse, Enquiries are ongoing."
All images © Sandy Ferguson and should not be reproduced without his permission