Three things learned from Kilmarnock 3-0 Hearts

Damaging defeat for the Jambos in Ayrshire

Saturday, 23rd November 2019, 4:55 pm
Updated Saturday, 23rd November 2019, 4:58 pm
Chris Burke puts Kilmarnock 3-0 ahead against Hearts

Manager needed quickly

Hearts badly need some stability and that was illustrated perfectly in Ayrshire. Kilmarnock ripped them apart with ease and interim manager Austin MacPhee could only stand and watch in disgust in the penalty area. Owner Ann Budge is determined to take her time before appointing a new figurehead but she will be acutely aware that her club cannot suffer many more defeats like this. MacPhee, to his credit, did not hide as those on the field capitulated early on. He remained on the edge of his technical area and tried to give guidance, changing team shape from 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1 and eventually to 4-4-2 in the hope of gaining a foothold in the match.

Way too open

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Hearts have lost eight goals in three games since Craig Levein was sacked. MacPhee has placed significant emphasis on attack after so many toothless performances under Levein, but it has clearly been to the detriment of the defence. Three goals conceded to Rangers, two against St Mirren and a further three to Kilmarnock is evidence of a leaky back line. MacPhee's chances of getting the manager's job permanently were damaged by this result at Rugby Park and there is no doubt the early capitulation is a major worry. Kilmarnock scored three times with ease inside the opening 16 minutes, all down their right flank. It was no real surprise, then, to see Hearts substitute their teenage left-back Aaron Hickey at half-time.

Burke the hare

He turns 36 in two weeks but Chris Burke remains a quick and effective right winger even in the twilight of his career. The former Rangers player has kept himself in excellent physical shape and gave Hearts a torrid time early in this match. Burke scored two of Kilmarnock's three goals inside the first 16 minutes and provided the assist for the other, headed home by Eamonn Brophy. His pace and accurate finishing were a credit to him and certainly caused much consternation for the visiting defenders.