HEARTS’ Europa League ambitions suffered another setback as they were held to a dismal goalless draw by Kilmarnock at Rugby Park last night.

Ian Cathro’s team were hoping to apply some pressure to St Johnstone as they prepare for the crucial Premiership’s run-in.

However, their lacklustre performance against the Ayrshire outfit means the Perth men have the opportunity to open a seven-point lead in the race for fourth place if they beat Aberdeen this afternoon.

Tynecastle supremo Ann Budge issued a statement in midweek which branded press coverage of Cathro’s four-and-a-half-month reign “ludicrous’ – but even she would have been hard pressed to defend the team’s miserable showing.

The result is Killie’s fourth stalemate in five games, but could yet prove pivotal as they look to kill off lingering relegation fears, with rock-bottom Inverness Caley Thistle now 10 points adrift.

The thrills were few and far between at Rugby Park and it took the Edinburgh side 18 minutes before they finally got a chance, but Isma Goncalves fired wide from 10 yards.

They lived dangerously throughout and veteran striker Kris Boyd had two efforts in stoppage time to snatch victory, but blasted a free-kick off target before his diving header flew wide.


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