Kilmarnock vs. Heart of Midlothian – Football Match Report – May 13, 2018
Lee Erwin’s early strike was enough to give Kilmarnock a winning end to a memorable campaign against a Hearts team featuring eight teenagers.
Erwin struck the only goal in the 10th minute as Killie claimed their first victory since the Ladbrokes Premiership split.
Steve Clarke’s side had already secured fifth spot but treated the home fans in the 6,273 crowd at Rugby Park to another impressive performance which might have yielded more goals.
Hearts arrived in Ayrshire amid a selection crisis after losing six players to injury and suspension following their midweek derby win over Hibernian. They were without 15 players in all, including Malaury Martin, who was on paternity leave.
Craig Levein started with two 16-year-olds in Chris Hamilton and Cameron Logan, and two 17-year-olds in Harry Cochrane and Anthony McDonald. The latter two have been regulars in the first-team squad this season but the younger pair were both making their debuts. Lewis Moore, 19, also started while 17-year-old Euan Henderson came off the bench along with 16-year-olds Connor Smith and Leeroy Makovora.
The hosts went for the kill immediately and Greg Kiltie and Aaron Tshibola both had efforts saved before Erwin capitalised on a loose pass, ran at the visiting defence and fired in off goalkeeper Jack Hamilton.
Kris Boyd curled a free-kick just past the top corner but Hearts had their moments in the first half and Jamie MacDonald saved one-on-one from Kyle Lafferty after Don Cowie had sent the striker clean through on the counter-attack.
Boyd had another effort saved and Killie midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu was just over with a thunderous strike.
The hosts took time to put Hearts under pressure in the second half but the visitors somehow survived a bombardment in the final 20 minutes.
Hamilton made a brilliant save to touch Boyd’s left-footed volley over the bar, Stuart Findlay headed just over and the Hearts goalkeeper denied Eamonn Brophy and twice saved well from Erwin.