Hearts 1-0 Kilmarnock- Match Report

Hearts win despite two penalty saves from Kilmarnock goalkeeper Jamie MacDonaldKilmarnock goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald saved two penalties against his former club but still ended up on the losing side as Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson toasted his new contract with a hard-fought 1-0 victory.A Jamie Walker goal after just seven minutes was enough to see off a stubborn Killie side, with the 22-year-old bundling home from close-range after MacDonald, a Scottish Cup winner with the Jambos, had spectacularly saved his initial spot-kick.Referee Don Robertson award a second penalty after the break and once again MacDonald excelled, making a splendid low stop to deny Abiola Dauda from 12 yards.Sam Nicholson also hit the woodwork for the hosts, who ultimately withstood late pressure to claim the spoils.Hearts, who were boosted by the news on Friday that Neilson and his assistant Stevie Crawford had extended their deals until the summer of 2018, now have an 11-point cushion over St Johnstone and Ross County in third place in the Ladbrokes Premiership as they close in on a return to Europe.Killie, by contrast, will be casting nervous glances over their shoulder after a win for rock-bottom Dundee United took them to within eight points of the Ayrshire outfit, having played a game less.With Kilmarnock in the unusual position of having a former Real Madrid player to choose from, manager Lee Clark - still waiting for his first win - chose to name new signing Julien Faubert on the bench for the trip to Gorgie.But even without the experienced Frenchman, Killie carved open the Hearts defence within 60 seconds.A Tope Obadeyi delivery was mis-controlled by Greg Kiltie yet fell perfectly for Craig Slater on the edge of the box

The promising youngster could only drag his shot wide.Clark's men were made to pay for that wastefulness five minutes later when Prince Buaben hared into the box and was hauled back by Killie defender Stuart Findlay, prompting Robertson to point to the spot.Walker stepped up, only to see his powerful drive magnificently tipped onto the post by MacDonald who was Kilmarnock skipper in the absence of Mark Connolly.Walker reacted swiftly to prod home the rebound.Faubert, who also counts Cannes, West Ham and Bordeaux among his former employers, was introduced to the fray after just 28 minutes, replacing Mark O'Hara, but struggled to make any impact.Instead, it was Hearts winger Sam Nicholson who almost doubled the hosts' lead moments after half-time, striking the inside of the post with a header after rising highest to meet a fine Callum Paterson delivery.Hearts had a golden opportunity to put the game to bed after 81 minutes when Josh Magennis was adjudged to have used his hand to block an Igor Rossi header inside the box.MacDonald stooped low to his left to parry Dauda's effort wide

Source : PA

Source: PA