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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 July 2005, 15:54 GMT 16:54 UK
Kilmarnock 2-4 Hearts
Rudi Skacel scored Hearts' first goal
George Burley's makeshift Hearts side got their SPL campaign off to a good start with victory at Kilmarnock.

Killie took the lead when Steven Naismith scored from close range, but Hearts replied immediately, with Rudi Skacel scoring from similar distance.

Roman Bednar headed Hearts into the lead and Saul Mikoliunas curled in a terrific third goal.

Gordon Greer headed Killie back into it late on, but a Paul Hartley penalty sealed the points for the visitors.

The opening exchanges were marred by some crude challenges and Killie's Simon Ford and Saul Mikoliunas of Hearts both went into referee Alan Freeland's book early on.

The home side lifted standards with the opening goal after 12 minutes.

Naismith found himself unmarked in the six-yard box and hooked Peter Leven's long throw-in past Craig Gordon.

But Hearts hit back within a minute when Edgaras Jankauskas crossed from the left, Skacel forced a tremendous save from Alan Combe only for the ball to fall back to the Czech, who slammed the equaliser into the roof of the net.

Czech Republic striker Bednar again posed a threat to Combe's goal in the 24th minute when he went close with a decent header from a deflected Robbie Neilson cross.

George Burley watches his side beat Killie
George Burley watches his side beat Killie

The high tempo eventually subsided, but the challenges were no less fierce and goalscorers Skacel and Naismith as well as Kris Boyd were added to the list of players booked.

The visitors made the perfect start to the second period when they took the lead after just 51 seconds.

From Skacel's deep left-wing cross, Jankauskas headed the ball back into Bednar's path and the 22-year-old nodded the ball past Combe via the inside of the post.

Bednar passed up a good chance to score Hearts' third, and instead it was Mikoliunas who added to their tally.

He was teed up by Bednar and Paul Hartley 20 yards out and the Lithuanian curled a beautiful left-footed shot into Combe's top right-hand corner.

Just when it seemed Hearts would cruise the rest of the game, Greer stepped forward to head firmly past Gordon in the 74th minute to give the home side hope of a recovery.

Despite that boost it was Hearts who looked the more likely to get another goal and Combe had to be smart to deny Mikoliunas and then Skacel in the 85th minute.

But when Gary Locke brought down Jankauskas, Hartley made no mistake from the spot.


Kilmarnock: Combe, Fowler, Hay, Ford, Greer, McDonald, Locke, Naismith, Invincibile (Nish 52), Leven (Johnston 63), Boyd.

Subs Not Used: Smith, Dodds, Dillon, Murray, Hamill.

Booked: Ford, Locke, Naismith, Boyd, Nish.

Goals: Naismith 12, Greer 74.

Hearts: Gordon, Neilson, McAllister, Pressley, Webster, Skacel, Hartley, MacFarlane, Mikoliunas (Simmons 90), Bednar (Elliot 69), Jankauskas.

Subs Not Used: MacDonald, Cesnauskis, Berra, Wallace, Tierney.

Booked: Mikoliunas.

Goals: Skacel 12, Bednar 46, Mikoliunas 61, Hartley 89 pen.

Att: 7,487

Ref: A Freeland




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