Football: Hearts go for broke

Hearts 2 Ricthie 22, McCann 71 Kilmarnock 0 Attendance: 11, 020
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The Independent Online
Goals from Paul Ritchie and Neil McCann may soon be more eagerly anticipated on Wall Street than Princes Street if Hearts' grand plan takes off. A creditable win should soothe potential investors, but few will be willing to change places with Kilmarnock after this performance.

With Hearts seeking upward mobility on two fronts, victory over Kilmarnock was essential. The Edinburgh club desperately wanted the points to strengthen not just their claims for a Uefa Cup place but also their impending move onto the Stock Market.

They should have profited from an early lead here but Colin Cameron failed to cash in on two gilt-edged opportunities in the opening 17 minutes. Such a squanderous nature could have been severely punished were it not for the Hearts goalkeeper, Gilles Rousset, and some outrageous good fortune. The French international rescued his side when Jim McIntyre burst clear, blocking the shot, but he was a mere spectator when Mark Reilly's wonderful free-kick curled over the Hearts wall, but the ball struck the inside of the post and miraculously stayed out.

Then, in the 22nd minute, Cameron atoned for his earlier errors when he helped put Hearts ahead. Neil McCann swung over a deep corner, Cameron intelligently knocked it back into the path of Paul Ritchie and the defender showed remarkable aplomb to volley his shot home from 12 yards.

Cameron's profligacy was apparent again in the 57th minute when he missed from six yards. He had started the move in his own half, but when McCann unselfishly cut the ball back he somehow managed to hit the post with the entire goal at his mercy.

When the next chance came McCann decided to go it alone. In the 71st minute, he ran 40 yards at the retreating defence before curling a sublime shot from 20 yards in off the underside of the bar for Hearts' second.

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