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Angelo Alessio delighted as Kilmarnock blow away struggling Hearts

Kilmarnock manager Angelo Alessio praised his side’s professionalism after they came firing out of the traps to stun struggling Hearts in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

The Rugby Park side struck three goals in a crazy opening 16-minute spell that was inspired by veteran winger Chris Burke.

The 35-year-old contributed two goals and an assist as Kilmarnock moved within three points of third-placed Aberdeen with a 3-0 victory.

“It’s difficult to start like that every week but today is perfect because we scored three goals in 20 minutes,” said Alessio.

“Every game in this league is tough but I think the players entered the pitch very well, with a good approach and attitude.

“We deserved to score three goals because we created a lot of chances in 30 minutes and we deserved to win.

“Two months ago our difficulty was scoring goals and now we score three goals early on. We are happy but we need to continue to improve.

“I’m pleased but I’ve asked the players to recover in the right way as we have lots of games coming up.

“We have Rangers, Celtic and St Mirren away so it was important to win this game today and try and get as many points as possible from those games.”

Former Scotland international Burke fired the hosts ahead after nine minutes after he was released by an excellent pass by Mohamed El Makrini.

The outstanding Burke went from scorer to provider in the 13th minute when he produced a stunning cross for Eamonn Brophy to power a header home.

The experienced Burke then added his second after a devastating counter-attack.

All three of Kilmarnock’s goals came down Hearts’ left-hand side, where Aaron Hickey endured a difficult afternoon and was substituted at the break.

Hearts interim manager Austin MacPhee bemoaned his players’ defending during a costly eight-minute spell.

“It’s three very preventable goals and the players are as angry as me. We reacted poorly to the first goal and lacked composure,” he said.

“For the second goal, Brophy drifts between our centre-backs who aren’t picking up a player. We had seven players to their three in the box and we have to deal with men in those situations.

“We don’t confront Burke for 35 yards and he scores from eight yards for the third goal.

“They’re basic fundamental defensive errors and preventable goals. Kilmarnock are a team who play low, the first goal is so important here because we need to bring them out.”