It is supposed to be nigh-impossible for a club to be beset by off-field problems and prosper on it. But by the powers of Craig Levein these two facets were not proving mutually exclusive at Hearts.
This match ended with a demonstration by several hundred fans against the sale of the Edinburgh club’s stadium, and mounted police were required to prevent protestors breaching Tynecastle’s main entrance. In the encounter that preceded it, the home team had few problems breaching the defences of a visiting Kilmarnock side which, more than the Hearts board, could have been doing with the protection afforded by a greater than normal police and stewarding presence, to save them from the doing which Hearts administered courtesy of goals by Graham Weir, Ramon Pereira and Steven Pressley.
In the first period Hearts did exactly what was required of them. Performing with purpose and poise to get their noses in front early on, they exuded a solidity. This wasn’t in appearance alone, Kilmarnock rarely able to really work the ball in behind their defence.
Mind you, Jim Jefferies’ side was first to threaten, with Craig Gordon required to be the equal of a fizzing effort by Gary Wales in the opening minutes. However, the edge they possessed up front was undercut by the bluntness of their defending.
The most offensive element of the day to those with delicate sensibilities was not the invective that cascaded from the stands, but the perm-mullet sported by Hearts striker Pereira. It might have bedazzled Gordon Greer in the 15th minute as the Ayrshire club’s centre-back carelessly dived in when challenging the twinkle-toed Spaniard.
This merely allowed the forward an age to tee up a cross that he dropped right on to the head of Weir, who directed the ball out of reach of Alan Combe for the afternoon’s opening goal.
The striker, signed in the summer from Raith Rovers, was full of running and invention and looked as if he could serve as yet another example of the sort of astuteness in the transfer market that has allowed Levein to avoid the quality of his squad being reduced in the face of that continually happening to his budget.
Pereira killed the contest in the 57th minute, demonstrating a good spring before picking his spot with a header following a cross by Joe Hamill.
From this point, a 3-0 win always seemed probable. It was made reality when Pressley slammed a penalty high into the net after substitute Stevie Murray had upended Robbie Neilson in the box 21 minutes from time.
Upending owner Chris Robinson, meanwhile, remained the aim of the Hearts support.