27 Dec Hearts win comes at a cost
Hearts gave Ian Cathro his first victory in charge in some style but it came at a cost following a serious-looking injury for Callum Paterson.
Paterson scored the first goal in a 4-0 home victory over Kilmarnock before being carried off on a stretcher in the 15th minute after appearing to hurt his knee.
The timing could not have been worse as the Scotland right-back looked certain to be the subject of some serious transfer interest next month with his contract set to expire in the summer.
Cathro had seen Don Cowie leave Dens Park on a stretcher in a 3-2 defeat by Dundee on Friday night and he also lost Prince Buaben to injury in the second half at Tynecastle.
But the head coach otherwise enjoyed his first win at the fourth attempt as Arnaud Djoum and a Jamie Walker brace added to Paterson’s opener.
Kilmarnock’s defeat was particularly painful for striker Kris Boyd, who had questioned Cathro’s appointment and claimed his lack of man-management experience would leave him “way out of his depth”. Boyd was taunted throughout by the home support and his 57th-minute substitution sparked one of the loudest cheers of the night.
Paterson netted his 10th goal of the season in the eighth minute, sending a left-footed first-time volley into the bottom corner from 18 yards as the visiting defence struggled to clear Jamie Walker’s corner.
But he was brought back to earth after appearing to get his studs caught in the turf when tackling Nathan Tyson. The 22-year-old immediately signalled he was in trouble and looked in some distress as he was treated for what looked like an injury to his left knee.
Souleymane Coulibaly missed a free header while the hosts were down to 10 men but Liam Smith soon came on and Bjorn Johnsen had a glancing header cleared off the line following another Walker corner.
Hearts were creating problems for themselves with some sloppy play in defence and Boyd had a sniff of goal but Jack Hamilton did enough to allow Igor Rossi to clear.
Hearts failed to make the most of some counter-attacking opportunities but Smith did well to create the second in the 42nd minute after collecting a crossfield pass. The full-back turned and chipped a cross which Djoum deftly steered into the far corner from six yards.
The game was killed off inside three minutes of the second half when Walker slotted home after Jamie MacDonald failed to hold Buaben’s long-range strike.
MacDonald stopped Djoum’s header and Iain Wilson prevented Walker converting after the midfielder rounded the goalkeeper, but the midfielder had plenty of time to slip home his second in the 70th minute after a blunder from Will Boyle.
Krystian Nowak almost marked his home debut with a goal but the midfielder’s 25-yard strike curled off the post and MacDonald saved Dario Zanatta’s injury-time penalty.