in Match Reports March 19, 2016
Chris Kyle @ Rugby Park
After drawing twice against the league champions already in the league this season, Killie were determined to get all three points this time around.
It was the visitors who had the first effort of the match within the first 2 minutes, when Commons curled the ball toward goal from 20 yards but MacDonald smothered the ball comfortably. Two minutes later and it was Killie who had the ball at the other end of the park, looking to get an early opener. Kallum Higginbotham darted up the wing and crossed a delightful ball into the edge of the box for Boyd, who’s terrific volley was equally met by a good save from Craig Gordon. With barely 10 minutes on the clock, Celtic had another effort at goal. Bitton sent a low strike towards the goal, which deflected narrowly past the left hand post. Just after 15 minutes had been played Celtic had another shot on target, but Hodson defended brilliantly to head the ball over the bar to safety.
Celtic had a free kick after 25 minutes, which was taken well by Bitton and forced MacDonald to punch the ball clear of the goal. Just after the half hour mark Killie gathered momentum and produced their best move of the game so far. Kris Boyd was running in on goal, who was stopped in his tracks by Gordon, only for the ball to fall at the feet of Higginbotham but the Killie forward chipped the ball just over the bar.
Killie started the second half brightly, as Lee Hodson hit a curling effort from 20 yards out but the ball glided narrowly past the bottom right hand corner. McGregor had a chance for Celtic shortly after, but his well timed strike from 18 yards was well blocked by Mark O’Hara. With just half an hour of the match remaining, the score remained goalless but it was Killie who were looking hungry for the opening goal. Hudson crossed in another dangerous looking cross, this time looking for Boyd but the ball was a fraction too high for the Killie striker to reach.
Two minutes later and Celtic almost opened the scoring but Sviatchenkos bullet header was expertly cleared off the line by Faubert. Twenty minutes from time the ball was fed down the wing to Obadeyi, who raced towards goal but his effort hit the side netting. Soon after Higginbotham ran up the right wing looking to make a cross, but instead the ball just went inches over the bar and over a relieved Craig Gordon. Five minutes from time Killie youngster Splaine had a go at goal from distance and forced Gordon into making a diving save. With barely 2 minutes left on the clock Killie again were looking the more likely to get a winner and came close when Obadeyi fed the ball to Splaine, who's shot bobbled past the right hand post. As the fourth official was preparing to show the additional added on time, Celtic had the ball in the net. Rogic turned away from Faubert and sent an unstoppable drive from distance past MacDonald and into the top left hand corner.
Overall Killie played some determined football, especially in the second half and can be proud of their performance. The team travel to face Partick Thistle after the international break and will look to produce another determined performance and bring back all 3 points to Rugby Park.
Killie: MacDonald, McKenzie (Splaine), Boyd (Obadeyi), Higginbotham, O'Hara, Ashcroft, Kiltie, Balatoni, Hodson, Dicker, Faubert
Subs: Brennan, Westlake, Obadeyi, Splaine, Slater, McHattie, Frizzell
Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Sviatchenko, Mulgrew, Tierney (Boyata), McGregor, Brown, Bitton (Rogic), Commons (Roberts), Griffiths, Kazim-Richards
Subs: Fasan, Boyata, Armstrong, Forrest, Roberts, Rogic, Johansen
Sandy Ferguson' match pictures.