Killie Kill Off Hearts League Cup Hopes
Hearts slumped to a disappointing Premier Sports Cup exit at the hands of Kilmarnock at Tynecastle Park. Aaron Fraser reports:
An Innes Cameron first half header at Tynecastle saw Kilmarnock advance through to the quarter finals of the Premier Sports Cup, at the expense of Hearts.
Robbie Neilson made four changes from the side that ran out 3-2 winners over St Johnstone. Lawrence Shankland, Alan Forrest, Barrie McKay and Alex Cochrane all returned to the starting line up as Hearts looked to reach the quarter finals.
Kilmarnock created the first real chance of the game on 7 minutes as Polworth played McKenzie through on goal. Craig Gordon was on hand to pull off a simple save.
The first half was passing without any major event until the opening goal arrived. Tynecastle was stunned as a looping cross towards the back post found Innes Cameron who headed the ball into the opposite corner past Craig Gordon to give Kilmarnock an unexpected lead in the capital. Pandemonium erupted in the away end as the home support were shocked into silence.
On 39 minutes, Andy Halliday swung in a ball for Lawrence Shankland who had a goal-bound header saved superbly by Sam Walker in the Kilmarnock net. Shankland’s Ayr United past, along with Alan Forrest’s, was making them the prime target of the visiting boo boys and loud cheers greeted the Hearts number 9 being denied what would have been an excellent equaliser.
Half time came and went with no changes being made at the break. Innes Cameron was looking to double his tally and he won a corner on 55 minutes after seeing a shot deflected behind.
Ash Taylor was putting in an excellent shift for the Ayrshire men and managed to direct a header on target which was easily dealt with by Gordon.
Kilmarnock subbed on former Hearts man Kyle Lafferty to help them see out the game. A fair number of home fans booed the Northern Irishman onto the pitch, his 2018 departure to Rangers still not forgiven or forgotten about.
Hearts desperately tried to rescue a result in the closing stages. Alex Cochrane lashed a 25 yard strike goalwards and was denied by a scrambling Walker on 84 minutes. Ash Taylor then threw himself in front of a Peter Haring strike before Walker gathered a low cross from Barrie McKay. Hearts huffed and puffed but were unable to force the game to extra time.
Loud jeers greeted the full time whistle as Hearts crashed out of the Premier Sports Cup. The men in maroon will look to bounce back away at Livingston on Saturday. Kilmarnock can now look forward to a quarter final tie with Dundee United at Rugby Park.