An own goal deep into injury time robbed a mixed Hearts Under-20s team what would have been a hard-fought league victory yesterday.
Hearts fielded a mixed side of youth and experience with Scott Gallacher, Brad McKay, Billy King, Prince Buaben and Soufian El Hassnaoui the senior players.
The visitors had a familiar face in their ranks as former Hearts player Jamie Hamill, now in a coaching role at Rugby Park, played from the start along with the experienced Paul Cairney who was latterly with City rivals Hibs.
In a quiet opening to proceedings both sides exchanged early efforts. Angus Beith tried his luck for Hearts and Greg Kiltie had a pop for the visitors.
Hearts opened the scoring on 30 minutes as Robbie Buchanan netted from close range following a cross from the right by Gary Oliver.
Killie came close to levelling almost from the restart when a shot from a triallist rebounded off goalkeeper Gallacher’s right-hand post.
The visitors possibly shaded the first half, but Hearts had the better of the second period with El Hassnaoui and Beith having early shots saved.
Both teams made changes that hardly affected the flow of play with Oliver, one of Hearts’ best players on the day, unlucky not to add to the scoreline on three separate occasions.
Killie came more into the game in the closing stages, however Hearts looked comfortable in their push for an equaliser.
A sting in the tail was to come however for those in maroon a minute into injury time when a right-wing cross was diverted by McKay into his own net via a post.
It was more misfortune for McKay, who, for the second time in three days, found that luck was against him.
This followed his unfortunate sending off at Livingston on Saturday after he gave away a penalty late on.
Hearts: Gallacher, Hutchings, McKay, Baur, Henderson, King (I Smith 59), Buaben (Page 62), Beith, Buchanan (Flanagan 83), Oliver, El Hassnaoui. Subs Unused: Mason (GK), Roy, Baxter.