Having achieved good results in the previous two matches against Aberdeen and St Mirren, Hearts and their supporters were hopeful of putting another struggling side, Kilmarnock, to the sword at Tynecastle.
With my Dad back in Edinburgh after a recent holiday we were able to resume the usual arrangement of attending the games together for the first time in a few weeks. We arrived at McLeod Street about 15 minutes prior to kick off and we were pleased to see a resonably sizeable travelling support from Ayrshire. With the game being played on Halloween weekend many of the travelling fans had opted for fancy dress, with the most impressive outfits we spotted being a full green 'Kick Ass' style suit and one (brave) topless guy painted blue and dressed as a smurf.
Looking towards the Kilmarnock fans as the ground fills up before kick off.
The teams soon took to the park and my Dad pointed out that our neighbour's little kid was acting as the Hearts mascot for the day. He seemed to be chuffed to be lining up alongside the team captains in his full Hearts kit and didn't seem at all bothered by the cold. That's kids for you!
The match day mascots with Marius Zaliukas.
The pre-match line up.
The atmosphere at Tynecastle seem noticably flat as the game kicked off, there was very little buzz about the ground (with the exception of the travellinf fans) and this appeared to be transfer to the pitch. I believe, however, It's always a bit of a 'chicken and egg' situation when it comes to action and atmosphere. After a brisk start from Hearts, Kilmarnock took control of the game and never relented for the entire 90 minutes. Frazer Wright was able to nod Killie in front just before the break with a headed goal and whilst Hearts had spells in the snd half during which they tried to get back into the game, the match was wrapped up by the visitor when substitute Connor Sammon got in behind the Hearts defence and doubled their lead on the 80 minute mark.
Things soon got much wors for Hearts when Alexei Eremenko put the finishing touches on Kilmarnock's wonderful display by cooly lobbing Marian Kello after captialising on a defensive error by Ruben Palazuelos.
Kyle and Skacel ha both gone close for Hearts whilst the game was still finely poised at 0-1 but the day undeniably belonged to Kilmarnock.
To the delight of their travelling fans they took all three points back along the A71 with what was a thoroughly deserved victory. Hearts on the other hand had turned in a truely uninspiring performance and their supporters simply had to hope it was just one of those days rather tha a sign of performances to come.
As for our neighbour's child. I'm writing to both the club and his parents to insist he is never allowed to act as the Hearts match day mascot ever again! :-D