Paatelainen hails emerging Eremenko

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Kilmarnock manager Mixu Paatelainen believes Alexei Eremenko is the most gifted player in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

Eremenko, on a season-long loan from Ukrainian side Metalist Kharkiv, netted after strikes from Frazer Wright and Conor Sammon as Killie moved off the foot of the league table with an emphatic 3-0 defeat of Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday.

"He's a quality player," Paatelainen said of Eremenko. "I've not seen a better passer of the ball than him in this league and it's amazing that a player like that plays for Kilmarnock.Hopefully he shoots more because he can score more goals for us, but he also creates lots."

Russia-born Eremenko said: "Against Hearts away it's the perfect result. We lost many games before this and we've showed now what we're capable of.

"We wanted to show to our fans that we're not as bad as it seemed in the table."

Hearts spurned the opportunity for a third straight win, leaving manager Jim Jefferies disappointed.

Jefferies, who left Kilmarnock last season to return to Tynecastle, said: "The reason we were beaten was because we played against a team who passed the ball better than us, their movement was better, their urgency was better.

"I thought we were all right for a 20 minute period in the second half and I thought if we could score in that period we might go on to win it. You've got to go for it, but they hit us on the break and thoroughly deserved the win."

Hearts cross the capital to Easter Road next Sunday for the Edinburgh derby with Jefferies seeking a positive response from his side.

"It's all about how you bounce back from these results," he said. "It's the perfect game to get everyone lifted."

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Frazer Wright
Premier League

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