Football: McCoist is the Hearts stopper

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The Independent Online
Heart of Midlothian 2

McSwegan 16, 43

Kilmarnock 2

Henry 73, McCoist 77

Half-time: 2-0 Attendance: 14,689

HEARTS may not die from the self-inflicted wound of losing a two- goal lead, but their chances of survival have not improved.

Gary McSwegan ended his and the struggling Edinburgh team's goal famine with a personal feast yet, just when an elusive victory glimmered in the distance, Kilmarnock's substitutes, John Henry and Ally McCoist, ensured it remained a mirage.

Hearts' perilous situation, provoked by a disastrous run of 12 games without a win which plunged them to the bottom of the table and stripped the Scottish Cup holders of their coveted trophy, had seen manager Jim Jefferies acquire Celtic's Darren Jackson before the transfer deadline. However, Jackson's 21-month stay in Glasgow did not seem to have thawed Tynecastle hearts towards a man they vilified when he was with Hibernian. Amid a raucous introduction, Jackson's debut was marked with hardly a murmur of welcome.

Hearts, who had not scored a league goal since 30 December, craved the comfort of a lead. They finally got it in the 17th minute, when McSwegan scored his first goal for the club and Tynecastle exploded.

Gus McPherson's folly in trying to run across his 18-yard line saw the Kilmarnock defender robbed by Jackson's snapping tackle, and McSwegan ended his drought since moving here five months ago.

And, having ended the jinx, he took full advantage, adding a second in the 43rd minute.

Tynecastle's passion remained undimmed during the second half and Jackson, to whom the crowd were warming, was denied a glorious goal by an even more glorious save from Marshall.

With the game almost out of reach the Kilmarnock manager, Bobby Williamson, gambled with a double substitution by bringing on John Henry and Ally McCoist and boldly going for 3-4-3. It paid off when the pair each scored within eight minutes and stunned poor Hearts.