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Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 00:50 GMT
Hearts consolidate in third
Kevin McKenna celebrates after scoring Hearts' third goal
Kevin McKenna grabbed Hearts' third goal
Hearts 3-0 Kilmarnock

Hearts consolidated their third-top position in the Scottish Premier League following a nightmare three minutes for in-form Kilmarnock.

The visitors collapsed after Alan Maybury broke the deadlock five minutes after the break with a controlled drive from the edge of the box.

Greg Shields was sent off soon after for a desperate, last-ditch challenge and, from the free kick, Mark De Vries fired Hearts into a commanding two-goal lead.

Substitute Kevin McKenna added a third 10 minutes from time as Hearts matched the scoreline achieved last week against Dunfermline Athletic, their other main challengers for third spot.

Greg Shields pulls down Phil Stamp
Shields was sent off for pulling down Stamp
Hearts head coach Craig Levein had made just one change, despite all the talk of a sickness bug at Tynecastle.

Former Celtic defender Stephane Mahe's ankle knock forced him to miss out and he was replaced with Austin McCann.

Kilmarnock manager Jim Jefferies made two changes, with Chris Innes and former Hearts defender Gary Locke returning at the expense of the injured Freddy Dindeleux and flu-struck Alan Mahood.

It was Hearts who exerted the early pressure and defender Andy Webster came close with a header that went just over the bar.

Kilmarnock defender Greg Shields almost put through his own goal with a close-range backpass and goalkeeper Colin Meldrum did well to clear for a corner.

The visitors did not threaten until the 16th minute, when Steve Fulton's powerful drive was deflected inches past the post.

Hearts continued to dominate, but Killie's SPL young player of the month, Kris Boyd, came closest to breaking the deadlock when his poke from the edge of the box under pressure from Greg Shields slipped just wide.

The home side were dealt a blow when Scott Severin failed to shrug off an earlier knock and had to be replaced by Stephen Simmons.

Hearts finally made the breakthrough five minutes after the break.

Chris Innes tries to get a hold of Mark De Vries
Mark De Vries (right) scored Hearts' second
Maybury was allowed to advance to the edge of the Killie box before delivering a bending drive off the inside of the far post.

Killie were shaken and, when Stamp found the same hole in the Killie defence three minutes later, he was tripped by Shields.

The defender, cautioned for dissent in the first half, was shown a second yellow card.

From the free kick, Meldrum failed to gather after coming off his line and De Vries turned sharply to drive the ball low through a sea of legs and into the net.

McKenna pounced after a short corner to fire a low drive the ball inside the near post to ensure victory.

Hearts: Moilanen, Maybury, Pressley, Webster, McCann, MacFarlane, Stamp (Boyack 71), Severin (Simmons 35), Valois, de Vries (McKenna 69), Wales.
Subs Not Used: Kirk, Gordon.

Booked: Stamp.

Goals: Maybury 50, de Vries 53, McKenna 79.

Kilmarnock: Meldrum, Canero, Innes, Shields, McLaughlin, Fowler, McDonald, Fulton, Locke (Canning 66), Boyd (McSwegan 58), McLaren (Di Giacomo 59).
Subs Not Used: Stewart, Hay.

Sent Off: Shields (53).

Booked: Locke, Shields, McLaughlin, Innes.

Attendance: 10,426

Referee: C Thomson.

BBC Scotland's Alastair Alexander
"A deserved victory for Hearts"
Hearts boss Craig Levein
"Thrilled... comfortable winners"
Killie boss Jim Jefferies
"The boys let themselves down"
The SPL season gets under way

Weekend games


Links to more Scot Prem stories are at the foot of the page.

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