Maroon Memories: Hearts' Ricardo Fuller is just too hot to handle
Hearts 2, Kilmarnock 1. SPL. Saturday, December 15, 2001
On loan Hearts striker Ricardo Fuller brought some much needed cheer to the Tynecastle supporters.
The Jamaican forward turned in a devastating display earning a penalty for the Jambos and sealing the points with a 25th-minute strike against Kilmarnock.
Stephen Simmons coolly converted from the spot in the ninth minute after Fuller was impeded by Kevin McGowne.
Then, 16 minutes later, he finished beautifully after linking on to a Simmons header and outpacing Freddie Dindeleux.
However, the visitors had been first to threaten in the sixth minute after a long ball out of defence from McGowne found Paul Di Giacomo whose low shot was held by Antti Niemi. Then Fuller won Hearts a soft-looking penalty on the right edge of the box after Killie defender McGowne appeared to body-check him.
Simmons sent Gordon Marshall the wrong way with a perfectly taken penalty ending up in the keepers right corner.
Hearts skipper Steven Pressley powerfully headed clear from McGowne who tried to get on the end of an Alan Mahood free-kick.
Then Fuller forced McGowne into conceding a corner after a great run to the byeline and, from the resultant set-piece taken by Steven Boyack, Kevin McKenna had a shot charged down by the combined efforts of McGowne and Dindeleux.
Moments later, a long Niemi kick out penalty gave Simmons the chance to turn provider.
Simmons headed the ball on to Fuller who out-paced Dindeleux before crashing a right-foot shot into the left corner.
But Killie tried to hit back and Mahood had a shot charged down by Pressley and, eight minutes before the break, Dindeleux flicked past the post from an Antonio Calderon cross.
Hearts nearly made it 3-0 in the 39th minute after Gary Wales held off three defenders before drilling in a low shot which Marshall dived to save.
Four minutes before the break, McGowne headed over the top from Mahood’s cross and then, at the other end, Fuller was denied by a brave save from Marshall after Simmons had sent him clear. The Jamaican was stretchered off after the collision with the keeper but he re-emerged for the second-half.
Boyack drove a shot just wide and Thomas Flogel hammered an effort wide from 20 yards as Hearts tried to seal the points.
Pressley made a great defensive header from a dangerous Ally Mitchell cross after 69 minutes and, at the other end, Fuller had a shot saved by Marshall at his near post.
Calderon went into the referee’s book for a high challenge on Simmons who was carried off and replaced by Steve Fulton. He then had a shot blocked in the busy penalty box and, in the 78th minute, McGowne headed a Peter Canero cross straight at the goalkeeper.
To their credit, Kilmarnock fought to the final whistle and although they forced a couple of corners they could not find even a consolation.
Hearts: Niemi, Maybury, Mahe, Pressley, McKenna, Flogel (Kirk 86), Gronlund, Boyack, Simmons (Fulton 74), Fuller (Weir 90), Wales. Subs Not Used: McKenzie, Webster.
Kilmarnock: Marshall, McGowne, Dindeleux, Hay, Fowler (Canero 71), Mitchell, Mahood, Murray (Dargo 65), Boyd, Calderon, Di Giacomo (Cocard 77). Subs Not Used: Samson, McLaren.
Ref: K Clark (Scotland).