Match ends, Kilmarnock 0, Heart of Midlothian 0.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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."
- 6SmithSubstituted forHawkshawat 37'minutes
- 25RobertsSubstituted forFrizzellat 82'minutes
- 18S LongstaffSubstituted forKiltieat 70'minutes
- 24SmithBooked at 75mins
- 8BuabenSubstituted forCurrieat 52'minutes
- 19NowakBooked at 56mins
- 15CowieSubstituted forEl Ouriachiat 70'minutes
- 7WalkerSubstituted forMartinat 81'minutes
- 77Esmael Gonçalves
- 16El Ouriachi
- Euan Anderson
- Shots on Target
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, 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, 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.
Liam Smith (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Liam Smith (Heart of Midlothian).