Hearts face Kilmarnock looking to build on positive week
From facing fan protests and being one game away from the sack following their 3-2 home defeat to Motherwell last month, Craig Levein and his Hearts side face Kilmarnock at Tynecastle today looking to build on an upturn of form. Adam Mackintosh previews.
Hearts find themselves go into this game on a run of three games unbeaten, including a vital derby win at Easter Road. Both Hearts and Kilmarnock were involved in stalemates in their last matches, with Levein’s side drawing at St Mirren and Killie drawing at home to Ross County.
Both meetings between the sides at Tynecastle last season finished in 1-0 victories for the away side and all four meetings between the sides ended in away victories last season.
Kilmarnock have stabilised after a disastrous start for new manager Angelo Alessio, which saw them crash out of Europa League qualifying to Welsh side Connah’s Quay Nomads. Sitting seventh in the league, two points ahead of Hearts, Killie are facing a striker crisis for Saturday with both Eamonn Brophy and former Hearts man Osman Sow doubtful due to injury.
For a team that has scored just five goals in their first seven league games, that is a worry of the Rugby Park side.
Hearts themselves are in the midst of their own injury crisis with Craig Halkett ruled out for at least eight weeks, though the injury may not as bad as first feared. He joins key players such as Peter Haring and Steven Naismith on the sidelines.
Naismith is aiming for the Rangers match on October 20 for his return to action and has said that Hearts need to “push on” and improve their form.
Speaking on Radio Scotland’s Sportsound, Naismith said “We play Kilmarnock and then after break, we need to push on and start picking up results. Where we are sitting now is far from ideal.”
“The individual mistakes have been crazy. Six or seven of the goals we’ve lost have been from unforced errors.” he added.
Japanese loanee Ryotaro Meshino is looking to continue his good form since arriving in Edinburgh on loan from English champions Manchester City. He has been the bright spot in a disappointing season so far for the Jambos, scoring his debut goal against Motherwell.
Much of Hearts’ success in recent years has been built on strong home form but they are yet to win at Tynecastle in the league so far this season. They will be looking to put that right and break the recent trend of away wins in this fixture.