Ladbrokes Premiership



By Stewart McConnell

A SECOND half barrage was not enough to secure Killie victory against a poor Hearts side who were there for the taking at Rugby Park on Good Friday.

Following a tedious first half which was as poor an advert for Scottish football as you will see, Killie battered the Jambos with a much more attacking strategy following an interval tongue-lashing from interim boss Lee McCulloch.

But they were unable to pull the trigger and kill Ian Cathro's side off.

However the point could be very important in the home side's bid to ease any lingering relegation fears.

McCulloch had mixed emotions after the match and said: "We possibly should have taken more than a point with the way we finished the game but the way we started wasn't good enough. The first 40 minutes was the worst we have played since I became interim manager.

"It was frustrating and I don't know what was up. We weren't getting close to the ball, we gave them too much respect and we gave them a bit of a go at half-time. The character they showed after that was good. I don't know if it's a good or a bad point. But I am pleased with a point and a clean sheet."

Following a dire opening spell Killie carved out a reasonable chance in 26 minutes when Sean Longstaff blasted well over the bar from 20 yards.

Then eight minutes later with the wind causing problems, Jordan Jones made a surging run from his own half towards the Hearts rearguard but the ball stuck under his feet and he fell over. In 48 minutes the hosts came close when substitute Dean Hawkshaw back-heeled to Calum Roberts who shot narrowly wide.

Then in 58 minutes Gary Dicker knocked down a corner-kick to Kris Boyd whose volleyed wildly over the bar.

At the other end in 68 minutes Esmael Goncalves failed to hit the target with an easy header. Six minutes later a Goncalves shot was well blocked by Iain Smith.

Boyd then just failed to connect with a header in 85 minutes. Then right on full-time the striker sent a free-kick narrowly wide as the match ended in stalemate.