Hearts will head to Rugby Park this afternoon with a totally different gameplan from last week’s defeat at Celtic Park. Interim head coach Jon Daly pledged to field a more attack-minded team against Kilmarnock in the hope of earning his club their first league win since April.
The opening Ladbrokes Premiership weekend saw Hearts lose 4-1 at Celtic Park with a fairly conservative approach. Under-20 coach Daly, in charge of the first team until a new head coach is appointed, intends to go with more forward-thinking players in Ayrshire.
Esmael Goncalves is pushing for a starting place after scoring Hearts’ goal in Glasgow. Kilmarnock lost their first league game 2-1 against St Johnstone last week before a midweek 5-0 reverse at Celtic Park in the Betfred Cup.
“I think they are wounded. Our lads are extremely disappointed from last week so we’re looking for a response to get three points,” said Daly. “We will go there totally different from the way we were at Celtic. Hopefully, we’ll have a few more attacking players on the park who will give us opportunities to score goals.
“We definitely want to assert ourselves and apply ourselves in an attacking sense. You still need to be disciplined and structured when you don’t have the ball. Kilmarnock have good players in their team and Kris Boyd up front, who scores goals for fun. We have to be wary of their threats but there are areas of the park where we can hurt them.”
Daly was happy with his team’s structure at Parkhead but could only lament the mistakes which handed Celtic control. “If you haven’t seen the game, it looks like we went there and didn’t do well. I thought the structure was right, with three in the middle of the park and Kyle Lafferty up top,” he said.
“Against a team of Celtic’s calibre, you switch off for a split second and you get punished. Unfortunately, we had lapses in concentration at crucial points in the game and we were punished for them.
“Nobody downed tools or put the white flag up. That shows me they’re prepared to work hard and they’re buying into what we’re asking from them. Celtic Park wasn’t a great result but I thought we worked extremely hard and were a threat on the counter-attack and from set-plays.”