Maroon memories: Hearts in total control

Kilmarnock 1 Hearts 3, February 16, 2005

TWO new arrivals from the land of Vladimir Romanov made an enormous contribution to an impressive Hearts performance as they progressed into the quarter-final of the Scottish Cup, after a replay at Rugby Park.

Deividas Cesnauskis, making his debut, was a hugely promising presence in tandem with Saulius Mikoliunas, scoring the third of the visitors’ goals as an appropriate finish to what was a performance of unchallenged superiority. On a night that could not be spoiled even by Kris Boyd’s injury-time penalty goal for the home side, teenager Lee Wallace scored his first goal for Hearts, while Lee Miller continued his goalscoring form with the second.

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Having scored an extraordinary goal in the first match in this cup tie, a 2-2 draw, Miller helped himself once more as Hearts seemed intent on proving that Kilmarnock’s achievement in taking the tie to a replay had been a fluke.

Even in the short time it took Miller to put his imprint on the match, Hearts were not only immeasurably ahead of their opponents in the matter of overall play, but had already taken the lead through the prodigious, 17-year-old Wallace.

Wallace carried the ball, utterly free of a challenge from a seemingly somnolent home side, from his own half deep into opposition territory before playing a sharp one-two with Dennis Wyness. Bolting through the inside-left channel to receive the precisely-delivered return pass, Wallace moved forward another few yards before lashing the left-foot shot high past Alan Combe from a range of about ten yards.

Miller added weight to that on the first occasion the striker was given the opportunity to show a sample of his work. Simon Ford, the Kilmarnock defender, tried to intercept Paul Hartley’s clipped free kick from the right, but merely glanced the header straight towards Miller who, in an instant, sent his header, from the left of the home goal, high into the far corner.

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It was indicative of Hearts’ comprehensive superiority that, throughout the entire first half, Kilmarnock’s solitary, genuine scoring chance came about by accident. In clearing his lines, Andy Webster drove the ball against Steven Naismith, who took advantage of his good fortune by sending a low cross from the right to Boyd. From close range, the big striker shot wide.

Even before Cesnauskis and Mikoliunas combined to produce the third goal, they had rampaged to such an extent that the debutant should have delivered his maiden strike eight minutes before he did. Mikoliunas played his compatriot in on the left, Cesnauskis cutting inside Ford and opening up a path to his target, obstructed only by Combe.

The goalkeeper did enough to prevent damage, throwing himself at the powerful drive to make the block. When Cesnauskis took possession of the loose ball and cut it back to Mikoliunas, that effort, too, was halted. There would be no mercy soon after, however, as Mikoliunas produced some trickery on the right, leaving defenders bewildered, before slipping the ball low to Cesnauskis. This time the recipient, on the turn and from the right of goal, drove the ball high past Combe.

Kilmarnock secured a consolation goal in injury time with a penalty by Boyd.

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