Scottish Premiership
Kilmarnock0Hearts0

Kilmarnock 0-0 Heart of Midlothian

Hearts' hopes of European qualification suffered a setback as they played out a drab goalless draw away to Kilmarnock.

Ian Cathro's side are 10 points behind third-placed Rangers - who are in the final guaranteed Europa League place - and four off St Johnstone, having played a game more than both sides.

Esmael Goncalves's header was Hearts' best chance before Kris Boyd twice went close for the hosts late on.

Killie are six clear of Motherwell, who occupy the relegation play-off spot.

Both Kilmarnock and Hearts have now completed their pre-split fixtures and have five games to play.

Watch Wilson

The opening 45 minutes were low on chances, but one man who did have a pop at goal from 25 yards was Killie's Iain Wilson.

Luke Hendrie tangles with Isma Goncalves
Isma Goncalves had Hearts' best chance of the match at Rugby Park

He was an impressive performer and you can see why the home fans rave about this young defensive midfield prospect.

The 18-year-old Kilmarnock youth product has been in the team since the turn of the year and shows a calmness on the ball and a range of passing, as well as always showing to receive the ball.

Hearts had a penalty shout in the first half when Arnaud Djoum went down under a challenge from Kristoffer Ajer, but any pull by the Norwegian was not deemed significant enough by referee Euan Anderson for a spot kick.

Goncalves, on five goals so far for Hearts, had another of the few efforts early on but it failed to seriously threaten Killie goalkeeper Freddie Woodman.

Fresh start

Thankfully both teams were more intent on bringing an attacking edge at the start of the second half.

Liveliness was a key trait of substitute Dean Hawkshaw's contribution for Killie and he set up Cal Roberts minutes after the restart, but he dragged a left-footed effort into the side netting at the near post.

Killie spurned another decent chance to go in front when the usually reliable Boyd ballooned over after being set up by Gary Dicker.

At the other end, Goncalves got his head on the end of a cross but could only nod straight at Woodman.

Kilmarnock's Kris Boyd
Kris Boyd went close in the second half for Kilmarnock

Goncalves had another couple of golden opportunities as the match drew to a close.

First, he whipped a low shot just wide with the help of a deflection, before being caught in two minds when Liam Smith's centre came his way.

Better point for Killie?

Boyd nearly won Killie all three points with a low, drilled free-kick that fizzed narrowly wide of Jack Hamilton's goal, then a diving header at the back post.

But overall the hosts will likely be happier with a point than Hearts will.

It is another crucial little step away from the relegation region for Kilmarnock, yet for Hearts it is not really enough to apply serious pressure on those ahead of them.

Post-match reaction

Hearts head coach Ian Cathro: "It's not acceptable [the result] because it's not what we wanted. Initially we controlled the match but we didn't create enough chances, we weren't enough of a threat.

"There's not tremendous confidence levels there, we're still building that. A draw away from home is not a disaster but we are disappointed.

"We need to be better. We are progressing, slowly, but we've got no concerns over where we are."

Ian Cathro (left) and Lee McCulloch
Kilmarnock's interim manager Lee McCulloch praised the display of 18-year-old Iain Wilson

Interim Kilmarnock boss Lee McCulloch: "We possibly could've snatched all three points in the way the game finished. It was certainly nowhere near good enough in the first half; we got away with one there as we didn't stick to the game-plan, didn't play, didn't look to get on the ball or pass it.

"We showed great character in the second half to go out and put on a performance like that, we were maybe unlucky not to nick it in the end.

"Iain Wilson played tonight like a mature man; even in the first half he was probably our best player and then he stamps his authority all over the game in the second half. His range of passing, he's quick, he can play centre-half and it shows what a great job the youth coaches are doing here."

Line-ups

Kilmarnock

  • 17Woodman
  • 27Hendrie
  • 8Dicker
  • 20Ajer
  • 24Taylor
  • 6SmithSubstituted forHawkshawat 37'minutes
  • 36Wilson
  • 25RobertsSubstituted forFrizzellat 82'minutes
  • 18LongstaffSubstituted forKiltieat 70'minutes
  • 11Jones
  • 9Boyd

Substitutes

  • 1MacDonald
  • 5Osborne
  • 10Kiltie
  • 21Frizzell
  • 33Hawkshaw
  • 40Graham
  • 44Cameron

Hearts

  • 1Hamilton
  • 24SmithBooked at 75mins
  • 8BuabenSubstituted forCurrieat 52'minutes
  • 19NowakBooked at 56mins
  • 27Struna
  • 6Kitchen
  • 4Tziolis
  • 10Sutchuin-Djoum
  • 15CowieSubstituted forEl Ouriachiat 70'minutes
  • 7WalkerSubstituted forMartinat 81'minutes
  • 77Esmael Gonçalves

Substitutes

  • 12Avlonitis
  • 13Noring
  • 16El Ouriachi
  • 20Johnsen
  • 22Beith
  • 30Currie
  • 88Martin
Referee:
Euan Anderson
Attendance:
4,110

Match Stats

Home TeamKilmarnockAway TeamHearts
Possession
Home47%
Away53%
Shots
Home8
Away10
Shots on Target
Home0
Away4
Corners
Home5
Away6
Fouls
Home7
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Kilmarnock 0, Heart of Midlothian 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Kilmarnock 0, Heart of Midlothian 0.

Freddie Woodman (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Esmael Gonçalves (Heart of Midlothian).

Attempt missed. Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) header from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right.

Attempt missed. Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left from a direct free kick.

Kristoffer Ajer (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Rory Currie (Heart of Midlothian).

Attempt missed. Perry Kitchen (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top right corner.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Iain Wilson.

Attempt blocked. Esmael Gonçalves (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Substitution

Substitution, Kilmarnock. Adam Frizzell replaces Callum Roberts.

Attempt saved. Malaury Martin (Heart of Midlothian) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Malaury Martin replaces Jamie Walker.

Attempt missed. Alexandros Tziolis (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is close, but misses to the right.

Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Arnaud Sutchuin-Djoum (Heart of Midlothian).

Jordan Jones (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Liam Smith (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Liam Smith (Heart of Midlothian).

Attempt missed. Liam Smith (Heart of Midlothian) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Luke Hendrie.

Attempt saved. Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Moha replaces Don Cowie.

Substitution

Substitution, Kilmarnock. Greg Kiltie replaces Sean Longstaff.

Attempt saved. Arnaud Sutchuin-Djoum (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt saved. Esmael Gonçalves (Heart of Midlothian) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt missed. Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Perry Kitchen.

Iain Wilson (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Booking

Krystian Nowak (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Krystian Nowak (Heart of Midlothian).

Delay in match Kristoffer Ajer (Kilmarnock) because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top left corner.

Foul by Iain Wilson (Kilmarnock).

Perry Kitchen (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Hand ball by Andraz Struna (Heart of Midlothian).

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Rory Currie replaces Prince Buaben.

Attempt blocked. Jordan Jones (Kilmarnock) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. Sean Longstaff (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic32293085206590
2Aberdeen32204861273464
3Rangers321510746341255
4St Johnstone32147114338549
5Hearts33129125143845
6Partick Thistle321011113536-141
7Kilmarnock33714123049-1935
8Ross County32711143552-1732
9Dundee3286183351-1830
10Hamilton32514132848-2029
11Motherwell3278173459-2529
12Inverness CT32413153458-2425
View full Scottish Premiership table

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