Kelly on the spot for Killie
Liam Kelly’s first-half penalty was enough to give Kilmarnock a
1-0 home win against Hearts in the SPL on Boxing Day.
There was little between the teams in the first half, which saw
Kelly score from the spot in the 26th minute after Gorgie defender
Andy Webster had fouled James Dayton.
However, the Tynecastle men laid siege to the Killie box at
times in the second period only to be denied by dogged defending
and some fine saves from keeper Cammy Bell.
Hearts will wonder how they managed to leave Ayrshire with
nothing for their efforts but that will worry Killie little, as
they leapfrog the Edinburgh men to move into sixth place in the
In the 15th minute, Killie striker Paul Heffernan had the ball
in the Jambos net but was ruled offside, and moments later Gorgie
defender Ryan McGowan did well to thwart Dayton as he tried to get
on to the end of a Cillian Sheridan cross from the right.
At the other end, Ryan Stevenson’s deflected shot was parried by
Bell and defender Michael Nelson beat Sutton to the loose ball, but
the Tynecastle striker was flagged offside.
However, it was the home side’s tricky wide-man, Dayton, who
earned Kilmarnock a penalty when he was tripped in the Hearts box
by Webster and Kelly confidently slammed the ball low past Jamie
Hearts began to play with more urgency and in the 33rd minute,
striker Gordon Smith drove a wonderful volley past Bell from 20
yards but referee Steven McLean had already blown for a foul in the
After Dayton fired wide from the edge of the box after cutting
in from the left, Rugby Park midfielder Borja Perez limped off to
be replaced by Lee Johnson before Smith headed an Andrew Driver
cross wide of the near post from eight yards.
Three minutes after the restart, Bell had to stretch high to his
left to push Driver’s goalbound drive from 20 yards behind for a
corner, which came to nothing but which signalled an intense spell
of Gorgie pressure.
As the game became a little tetchy, Dayton forced MacDonald into
a decent save with a drive from the edge of the box following a
However, Hearts remained on top and just after the hour mark a
powerful volley from Mehdi Taouil could only be parried by Bell but
Nelson calmly headed the loose ball back to his keeper.
In the 73rd minute Callum Paterson had a great chance when a
slip by Rugby Park stopper Momo Sissoko gave him possession in the
The Jambos substitute knocked the ball past Nelson to race
through one-on-one with Bell but the Killie keeper was equal to
what was an unconvincing shot.
In the 86th minute, Hearts captain Marius Zaliukas was shown a
yellow for tripping Heffernan as the Killie striker chased the ball
towards the Hearts penalty area, a decision which the home fans
thought far too lenient, with Sheridan sending the resultant
free-kick from 25 yards wide of the far post.
The visitors kept going through the four minutes of added time
but eventually ran out of time and ideas, leaving the Killie fans
and players to celebrate a welcome win.