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Lady Luck again leaves Killie with a broken heart


26 Feb 1996

Kilmarnock 0, Hearts 2 HEARTS are a good bet to win the Tennents Scottish Cup this season.

That is the advice of Kilmarnock manager Alex Totten, who a week ago saw the Tynecastle side knock his men out of the tournament at Rugby Park then, on Saturday, had to watch in dismay as the Edinburgh side repeated the feat in a premier division match.

The forecast is not based on the fact that Totten feels Hearts are playing particularly well at the moment.

It is more a case of they have got every break going over the past two weeks.

I didn't see the cup-tie between the sides, but certainly on Saturday Hearts were fortunate to come away with all three league points from a match in which they virtually stole a two-goal lead by the interval.

Only after that did they look anywhere near convincing.

Mind you, when Kilmarnock sit down to have a full discussion of the events they will maybe point a finger at themselves, as well as eccentric performances by the three officials.

The Ayrshire side missed as many chances as would have won them a couple of matches.

Totten, who made his views known to referee Michael McCurry and was later given a long lecture by the official in the dug-out, admitted as much after the match when he said: "We had enough chances to win the match, but didn't take any of them.

However, I felt we completely dominated the match and the result was a complete injustice.

"With the kind of luck Hearts had here last week and again today, they should go on to win the Scottish Cup.

"If I said what I thought about the the officials I wouldn't be banished to the stand for a season - it would be for life." Here again I have sympathy for Totten.

While the far-side linesman gave a few dubious offside decisions against his side in the first half, the linesman in front of the main stand kept his flag down just before the interval when John Robertson looked at least a yard offside.

The little striker bolted towards goal and gave the goalkeeper no chance with a low drive to give the visitors a two-goal lead.

I wonder what referee supervisor Tom Wharton thought of it all.

Before that, John Henry and Paul Wright had both missed gilt-edged chances right in front of goal, albeit forcing magnificent saves from Gilles Rousset.

There were also goal-line clearances and other moments of near panic in front of the Hearts goal.

In the middle of all of that, the electronic scoreboard flashed a message to a Stephen Logan.

"Will you marry me? Love, Lorna." Before the answer "Yes" came back, Hearts had taken the lead in 29 minutes with their best move of the match.

Robertson, John Colquhoun, and Alan Lawrence were all involved as they carved a gap in the Kilmarnock defence.

Lawrence fired a shot against the legs of Lekovic and showed sharp reactions to get to the rebound and thread a pass to Colquhoun, who steered a shot inside the right-hand post.

It was a gem of a goal, against the run of play, but the second was a total injustice and it almost got Kilmarnock captain Ray Montgomerie sent off.

He made a run towards the linesman and then protested furiously to the referee, who booked him.

Afterwards, Montgomerie, being careful about how he answered questions, said: "I just asked the referee for an explanation of how Robbo was on-side.

He said he couldn't give me an explanation, but would do so after the match.

I'm still waiting.

It was the turning point in the game." Hearts, however, must be given credit for cashing in on their luck and turning in a thoroughly professional performance in the second half.

Said manager Jim Jefferies: "We started sloppy and slack and Gilles Rousset kept us in the match with a couple of magnificent saves.

We were fortunate to go in at the interval two goals ahead when we could have been two down.

But we picked it up in the second half and Kilmarnock were seldom a threat.

"It's a good sign when you don't play well and still manage to win."

Taken from the Herald

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