Burke strikes as Hearts still winless at Tynecastle
- Chris Burke strikes a first-half goal to give Kilmarnock all three points at Tynecastle Park
- Hearts still yet to win at home this season and remain in 9th place
- Jambos midfielder Damour added to Hearts’ injury list
Hearts went into the game without a recognised striker, with Uche Ikpeazu missing out with a slight hamstring issue. Killie welcomed Eamonn Brophy back to the lineup after the striker missed the game against Ross County last time out.
A poor first half with little action ended with Burke heading home from 6 yards after some terrible defending from Hearts. A tepid atmosphere turned ugly as Hearts pressed for an equaliser in the second half, however, were unable to carve out any real chances. The result continues a run of six months without a win at Tynecastle for Levein’s side.
Killie started the game the brighter of the two sides and created the game’s opening chance just before the five minute mark after Liam Millar headed Burke’s cross just wide.
A cagey first half hour devoid of quality led to very few chances for both sides. The best opportunity of the half for the home side came from a short corner which found its way to Glenn Whelan who blasted over from 12 yards when he had a clear sight at goal.
Hearts’ mounting injury concerns were worsened on the half hour mark when Loic Damour was replaced after seemingly pulling up.
Then in the 42nd minute, a cross on the left from Nicholas Hamalainen evaded everyone in the Hearts penalty area except Burke, who found himself unmarked at the back post and had the simple task of nodding in to make it 1-0.
The familiar call of “sacked in the morning” led the teams back down the tunnel, as boos rang around Tynecastle as the whistle blew for half time. Ann Budge made an appearance on the touchline and there were audible boos and shouts from fans directed at the owner.
Hearts brought on Steven MacLean after the break to try give the Jambos an outlet upfront, however it was Kilmarnock who again started with greater intent.
Brophy had a good chance to double Killie’s lead after good work again from Millar, but was unable to get a shot away as he wanted too much time on the ball and Hearts were able to clear.
Michael Smith was handed a glorious chance to equalise for Hearts in a carbon copy of Burke’s goal, however a poor touch saw the ball trickle into the hands of Branescu.
Ryataro Meshino was one of the livelier Hearts players on the day, and his dipping shot 20 yards out just went over Branescu’s bar. For all of Hearts’ efforts, a worrying lack of quality without having Ikpeazu as an attacking outlet was starting to show, as the home fans continued to vent their frustrations.
Hearts continued to press for an equaliser, and thought they had it when MacLean lashed home, however referee Alan Muir had already blown his whistle. The full time was met with more boos, and more uncertainty regarding Levein’s future at Hearts.