Frazer Wright's header gave Killie a valuable lead at half-time
By Keir Murray
Kilmarnock's clinical finishing lifted them off the foot of the Scottish Premier League and denied Hearts the chance to move into third place.
At the end of a lively first-half in which both goals were peppered with shots, Killie defender Frazer Wright flashed home a header for the opener.
Jim Jefferies' Hearts pinned his former team back in the second period.
But an 80th-minute strike by Conor Sammon and a sublime lob by Alexei Eremenko gave the visitors the points.
Kilmarnock, propping up the Scottish Premier League at kick-off, knew the challenge central defenders Wright and Mahamadou Sissoko faced in preventing their former striker Kevin Kyle from adding to his goal tally, or from providing his Hearts team-mates with chances.
The hosts, for their part, began in buoyant mood after last week's 3-0 win over St Mirren and manager Jim Jefferies was able to name an unchanged side.
There were two attempts by each side in the first 10 minutes of the match.
Hearts started the match positively, with Marius Zaliukas's attempted left-foot volley, which hit off Calum Elliot and spun wide, indicative of their attacking intent.
By way of an immediate response, Eremenko weaved his way through the middle of the Hearts half and dinked a lovely ball to Liam Kelly, but his side-footed volley, an attempt to lob Marian Kello, drifted over the bar.
Mehdi Taouil was next to try his luck, taking a pass from Ben Gordon and cutting in from the right to fire a low curling shot at goal, which Kello tipped away superbly.
As the match roared from end to end, the home side pushed forward and Rudi Skacel set up Ruben Palazuelos to rifle a left-foot shot from the edge of the box that zipped past Cameron Bell's post.
The pace relented to a degree and, after a period of midfield carelessness by both sides, it was the Moroccan Taouil who had another try with his right foot, but again Kello was well positioned.
Kilmarnock are easier on the eye than last season, with Eremenko, Gordon and Rui Miguel, the latter in for Sammon, looking capable of troubling the Hearts back line.
Miguel, though, had a hangdog expression when he was subbed seven minutes before the interval, to be replaced wit Irish striker Sammon, though Mixu Paatelainen was at pains to explain the decision to the player on the touchline.
The Rugby Park side took the lead when Wright reacted fastest to Jamie Hamill's free-kick from the right, leaving Zaliukas flat-footed and his flicked header flashed past Kello from eight yards.
Jefferies made a double substitution at half-time, introducing Irish striker Stephen Elliot for his namesake, Calum, and Craig Thomson for Darren Barr.
Skacel's powerful 25-yard shot was well saved by Bell within minutes of the restart and the Killie keeper was called upon in 55 minutes to keep out a ripping shot by the Pole Adrian Mrowiec that bounced a yard in front of him.
Sammon curled a shot narrowly wide of the post in an increasingly rare attack by the visitors, but pressure on Bell continued with a snap-shot by Elliot going a fraction wide and Palazuelos shooting directly at him from long range.
As the Tynecastle faithful in the stands grew nervous at the score, Kyle caught Bell with his arm as the big striker went for a high ball right on the goal-line, and Suso Santana was booked for complaining to O'Reilly that he did not award him a free-kick on the edge of the box when he appeared to be tripped.
Hearts' third sub, David Templeton, pulled a shot wide after working himself into an inviting position, the finishing indicative of the desperation being felt by those in maroon.
With 10 minutes remaining, Sammon silenced the home fans with a cool finish when he picked up Liam Kelly's ball down the right, arrowed into the box and struck a shot between Kello and his near post - a gap of about a yard - despite the speedy arrival of Zaliukas.
While Hearts licked their wounds, Eremenko ended any doubts surrounding the result with a marvellous shot over the head of Kello from 25 yards, the Finn controlling the ball with one touch and lobbing the Hearts keeper, whom he spotted hovering on his six-yard line.
After a season in which they have occasionally threatened to click in front of goal, Kilmarnock can now enjoy their biggest away win in five years.
90:00+3:05 The referee blows for the end of the match.
90:00+2:21 Foul by Conor Sammon on Craig Thomson, free kick awarded. Craig Thomson restarts play with the free kick. Free kick awarded
for a foul by Mohamadou Sissoko on Stephen Elliott. David Templeton produces a cross, Kevin Kyle takes a shot. Save made by
90:00+0:52 Kevin Kyle is caught offside. Cameron Bell takes the free kick.
90:00+0:20 Effort from 30 yards by Alexei Eremenko. Marian Kello makes a save.
89:18 Outswinging corner taken by Rudolf Skacel.
89:02 Corner taken by Rudolf Skacel.
88:01 Unfair challenge on Craig Bryson by David Templeton results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Jamie Hamill.
87:18 Effort from outside the penalty area by Craig Bryson goes wide left of the target.
85:06 Substitution Liam Kelly leaves the field to be replaced by Tim Clancy.
84:06 Effort from deep inside the area by Conor Sammon misses to the right of the goal.
83:36 Stephen Elliott takes a shot. Save made by Cameron Bell.
81:14 GOAL - Alexei Eremenko:Hearts 0 - 3 Kilmarnock Alexei Eremenko scores a goal from outside the box to the top right corner of the goal. Hearts 0-3 Kilmarnock.
Correction - 79:10 The assist for the goal came from Jamie Hamill.
79:10 The assist for the goal came from Liam Kelly.
79:10 GOAL - Conor Sammon:Hearts 0 - 2 Kilmarnock Conor Sammon gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Hearts
77:53 Ismael Bouzid concedes a free kick for a foul on Conor Sammon. Frazer Wright restarts play with the free kick.
77:10 Free kick awarded for a foul by Conor Sammon on Marius Zaliukas. Marian Kello restarts play with the free kick.
74:51 Kevin Kyle is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Cameron Bell.
74:04 Kevin Kyle is caught offside. Free kick taken by Jamie Hamill.
73:22 Rudolf Skacel takes a shot from a long way out which goes wide of the right-hand post.
72:05 Corner taken by Alexei Eremenko from the left by-line, Mohamadou Sissoko has a headed effort from close range and clears the
70:34 Shot by Alexei Eremenko. Save made by Marian Kello. Alexei Eremenko takes the inswinging corner, save made by Marian Kello.
69:50 David Templeton produces a right-footed shot from outside the box and misses left.
68:19 Booking Suso Santana is shown a yellow card.
66:12 Kevin Kyle challenges Mohamadou Sissoko unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Cameron Bell.
66:12 Booking Kevin Kyle goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.
61:08 Substitution David Templeton replaces Adrian Mrowiec.
60:03 Ruben Palazuelos takes a shot. Cameron Bell makes a save.
59:38 Conor Sammon is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Marian Kello restarts play with the free kick.
58:48 The ball is sent over by Rudolf Skacel, Stephen Elliott has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left
of the target.
58:24 Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Rudolf Skacel from the left by-line.
57:10 Substitution Mehdi Taouil goes off and Garry Hay comes on.
56:38 Alexei Eremenko produces a right-footed shot from outside the penalty box and misses right.
55:08 Adrian Mrowiec takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Save made by Cameron Bell.
53:43 Conor Sammon has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box missing to the wide right of the target.
47:54 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Manuel Pascali by Ismael Bouzid. Manuel Pascali restarts play with the free kick.
47:54 Booking Booking for Ismael Bouzid for unsporting behaviour.
46:40 Effort on goal by Rudolf Skacel from 25 yards. Save by Cameron Bell.
45:01 The game restarts for the second half.
45:01 Substitution Stephen Elliott on for Calum Elliot.
45:01 Substitution Craig Thomson joins the action as a substitute, replacing Darren Barr.
Correction - 45:00+4:29 The referee blows for half time.
45:00+2:42 It is the end of the first-half.
45:00+1:55 Ruben Palazuelos concedes a free kick for a foul on Jamie Hamill. Assist by Jamie Hamill.
45:00+1:55 GOAL - Frazer Wright:Hearts 0 - 1 Kilmarnock Frazer Wright scores a headed goal from deep inside the penalty box. Hearts 0-1 Kilmarnock.
42:47 Frazer Wright gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Rudolf Skacel. Rudolf Skacel crosses the ball in from the
42:01 Booking Alexei Eremenko receives a yellow card.
40:48 Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Alexei Eremenko, Kevin Kyle makes a clearance. Alexei Eremenko takes the
outswinging corner, clearance by Kevin Kyle.
40:04 Kevin Kyle challenges Manuel Pascali unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Cameron Bell.
37:36 Substitution (Kilmarnock) makes a substitution, with Conor Sammon coming on for Marinho Rui Miguel.
35:28 Mohamadou Sissoko is adjudged to have handled the ball. Ruben Palazuelos takes the free kick.
33:41 Foul by Ismael Bouzid on Alexei Eremenko, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Liam Kelly.
30:16 Marinho Rui Miguel is penalised for a handball. Free kick taken by Darren Barr.
28:28 Suso Santana produces a left-footed shot from inside the area that goes over the bar.
27:28 Shot by Mehdi Taouil. Save made by Marian Kello.
24:01 Mehdi Taouil has an effort at goal from outside the box which misses left.
22:24 Eggert Jonsson challenges Craig Bryson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Liam Kelly takes the direct free kick.
16:13 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Rudolf Skacel from the right by-line to the near post.
15:09 Ben Gordon concedes a free kick for a foul on Suso Santana. Rudolf Skacel crosses the ball in from the free kick.
14:02 Ruben Palazuelos gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Marinho Rui Miguel. Free kick taken by Alexei Eremenko.
11:24 Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Rudolf Skacel played to the near post, Marius Zaliukas has a headed effort at goal
from deep inside the area missing to the right of the goal.
9:03 Ruben Palazuelos has an effort at goal from the edge of the area that misses to the right of the target.
7:36 Foul by Manuel Pascali on Suso Santana, free kick awarded. Marius Zaliukas takes the direct free kick.
7:36 Booking Manuel Pascali shown a yellow card.
7:04 Drilled right-footed shot by Mehdi Taouil. Marian Kello makes a save. Alexei Eremenko decides to take the corner short.
2:56 Liam Kelly takes a shot from just inside the penalty box which clears the bar.
0:50 Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Rudolf Skacel from the left by-line, save by Cameron Bell. Close range headed effort
by Calum Elliot goes wide of the left-hand post.
0:00 The ref blows the whistle to start the match.
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