Kilmarnock end home hurt with deserved Ladbrokes Premiership victory over Hearts
Kilmarnock recorded their first home Ladbrokes Premiership victory since May with a 2-0 win in an energetic display against a lacklustre Hearts side.
Souleymane Coulibaly's powerful first-half strike and Steven Smith's curled effort from range in the second 45 means Killie have now taken seven points from their last nine available.
Hearts had the opportunity to go second in the table with a point, however Robbie Neilson's team were largely flat and lacked penetration in the final third.
Kilmarnock manager Lee Clark named 10 of the starting 11 that drew 1-1 with Inverness in the Highlands on Saturday in his line-up for Wednesday's match, with captain Steven Smith brought in to replace namesake Martin.
Neilson made two changes from Hearts' last outing 11 days ago, a 2-0 victory against Dundee at Tynecastle
Alim Ozturk replaced Faycal Rherras in defence while former Killie man Robbie Muirhead was favoured in place of Jamie Walker on the left wing.
Tony Watt had a gilt-edged opportunity from six yards in the fifth minute but he failed to connect properly with a deep cross from the left.
Coulibaly opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with a stunning finish
The striker weaved past two Hearts challenges on the right-hand side of the box before unleashing an accurate drive into the far corner of the goal past the despairing dive of Jack Hamilton.
Hamilton then brilliantly denied Coulibaly a second as the keeper managed to block the frontman's header from point-blank range when a goal seemed inevitable.
Aside from Watt's early chance, Hearts were limited to a few half-chances in the opening 45 minutes.
Rory McKenzie almost extended Kilmarnock's lead early in the second half with a powerful strike from the edge of the area which clipped the bar on its way over.
However Killie's superior invention in front of goal paid off in the 71st minute when returning captain Smith curled a sweet strike into the top corner from 20 yards.
A bizarre incident involving Hearts sub Bjorn Johnsen immediately followed
The striker had the goal at his mercy as the Kilmarnock defence claimed offside, however he miscued in the six-yard box and the ball rolled safely into the arms of home goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald.
Despite Hearts' efforts, the hosts defended resolutely and their opponents were unable to create any clear-cut opportunities to get back into the game.
Source : PA