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Craig Levein <-auth Ronnie Esplin auth-> Craig Thomson
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1 of 004 Alan Maybury 50 ;Mark de Vries 53 ;Kevin McKenna 79 L SPL H

Hearts 3 Kilmarnock 0

By Ronnie Esplin, PA Sport

Second half goals from Alan Maybury, Mark De Vries and substitute Kevin McKenna gave European contenders Hearts a well deserved win over 10-man Kilmarnock.

The Tynecastle men dominated almost from the kick-off but the battling visitors had managed to stem the Gorgie tide until half time.

However, two goals in quick concession after the break, sandwiched between Greg Shields' sending off for two yellow cards, had the home side cruising and the third goal from McKenna, on earlier for De Vries, simply rubbed salt into Kilmarnock's wounds.

With their impressive and emphatic win, Hearts stretched their lead in third place to seven points over their Rugby Park opponents and now look in a strong position for a UEFA Cup spot.

Hearts took command of the game straight from the kick-off, making the most of the early running and Killie keeper Colin Meldrum was forced into a good confidence-boosting catch from a dangerous Jean-Louis Valois cross.

Then, in the third minute, as the Tynecastle men kept up the pressure, Jambos defender Andy Webster came close with a header which went just over the bar.

Five minutes later Killie's Shields almost put through his own goal with a close-range backpass and Meldrum did well to only concede a corner by kicking clear.

But despite their pressure, Hearts could not create anything clear-cut and as the game wore on a sense of frustration crept into their play, typified when Phil Stamp's good run down the right ended with the Englishman slicing his cross high and wide for a goal-kick.

In the 16th minute Kilmarnock had their first effort on goal and former Jambo Stevie Fulton's powerful drive from 25 yards was heading for goal until it was deflected inches past the post for a corner.

There was little real goalmouth action at either end but just after the half-hour mark Killie striker Kris Boyd made his first real contribution of the game when his low drive from 22 yards went narrowly past Hearts keeper Tepi Moilanen's left hand post.

The home side remained on top but their lack of firepower was exemplified when striker Mark De Vries' weak shot from the edge of the box trundled harmlessly through to Meldrum.

A minute after the restart Maybury made a decent run into the Killie box - but the Irish defender was all too easily dispossessed by Kilmarnock defender Barry McLaughlin and the ball ran out for a goal-kick.

But in the 49th minute the former Leeds man made amends when he opened the scoring with a tremendous opener.

Picking the ball up around 25 yards from goal, Maybury stepped forward and drilled a rocket shot low past Meldrum and into the bottom corner of the net.

The visitors were stunned and matters were made worse in the 51st minute when defender Shields, booked in the first half, was shown a second yellow after a trip on Stamp.

Moments later the home side doubled their lead after a basic error by Meldrum in the Kilmarnock goal.

The Killie keeper came off his line but failed to gather a high Stamp cross and De Vries was on hand to gather and

drill a low shot into the corner of the net.

Hearts poured forward at every opportunity and on the hour mark a Stamp corner allowed Meldrum to make amends for his costly mistake earlier by gathering comfortably under pressure from De Vries.

In the 79th minute Hearts' Canadian substitute Kevin McKenna, on earlier for De Vries, made it three when he swept a cross from Steven Boyack, who had come on for Stamp, into the far corner of the net past a despairing Meldrum.

It put the seal on a comprehensive win for the home side.


Hearts: Moilanen, Maybury, Pressley, Webster, McCann, MacFarlane, Stamp (Boyack 71), Severin (Simmons 35), Valois, de Vries (McKenna 69), Wales.

Subs Not Used: Kirk, Gordon.

Booked: Stamp.

Goals: Maybury 50, de Vries 53, McKenna 79.

Kilmarnock: Meldrum, Canero, Innes, Shields, McLaughlin, Fowler, McDonald, Fulton, Locke (Canning 66), Boyd (McSwegan 58), McLaren (Di Giacomo 59).

Subs Not Used: Stewart, Hay.

Sent Off: Shields (53).

Booked: Locke, Shields, McLaughlin, Innes.

Att: 10,426

Ref: C Thomson (Scotland).

Taken from

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