in Match Reports May 22, 2016
Kilmarnock 4 Falkirk 0
Alan Cochrane @Rugby Park
Rugby Park was rocking, the Kilmarnock manager was running up and down the touch line like a demented Linford Christie, the sun was shining, and even a constable was draped in a Killie scarf by the ebullient gaffer. And over 11000 spectators were there to see it. It was a joy to be there, and considerable thanks must be extended to over 4000 Falkirk fans who stayed until the end, despite being four goals behind with half an hour left, and who added much to a great day.
Before the start, you could feel the nervous tension in the home support; within eight minutes that had all but gone. Just two minutes had passed when Josh Magennis exploded down the right wing, pulled the ball back across the box, Greg Kiltie controlled it with one touch, cracked his shot low to the keeper’s left, put Killie one goal ahead, and level on aggregate. Six minutes later we were ahead on aggregate. Magennis supplied Lee Hodson short when the Falkirk defence were expecting a long throw, his cross to the back post could only be knocked across goal by Aaron Muirhead under pressure from Tope Obadeyi, and Miles Addison at the back post bundled the ball across the line. For the rest of the half, Kilmarnock kept up the pressure, and the defence was so organised that Falkirk’s best effort was a hooked shot by Craig Sibbald which went straight to Jamie MacDonald.
The second half continued where the first had left off. A Tope Obadeyi header from close range went over, Josh Magennis had a cross-shot saved, as did Craig Slater and Greg Kiltie, but Killie were not to be denied. Tope’s sheer pace down the left took him past the Bairn’s defence, he cut the ball back, once again Greg Kiltie had peeled back off the defence, and once again he cracked the ball into the net. Three minutes later the result was put to bed. This time Josh Magennis used his power and pace to outstrip the visitor’s defence, and although he could have shot himself, he unselfishly slipped the ball inside to Kris Boyd who side-footed the ball past the helpless Rogers.
Falkirk kept at it, and Jamie MacDonald had a good save from Bob McHugh, and they did get the ball into the net, but Willie Collum adjudged that MacDonald had been impeded, while in the last minute Kilmarnock almost added to their total when Kris Boyd hit the post. And that was it. It was all over for this season, and Kilmarnock had retained their Premiership status. Again.
When asked about his feelings at the end, the manager’s reply was “"Proud”. When asked about preparation for the game, “ We took the team for a walk along Troon beach and had bacon and egg rolls. I didn't expect to come up to Scotland to get a sun tan.”
But the professionalism was there. The recruitment process for next season has already started. He was proud of what the players have done, but being a manager means that you have to be ruthless; there are going to be big changes. We can't keep flirting around at the bottom of the league. “ I'm more than a fire fighter. I'm better than that. We put on a good performance today in front of a big crowd. That's where we want to be.”
Rugby Park could be a good place to come next season. See you then. Have a good summer.
Kilmarnock: MacDonald, Addison, Boyd, Obadeyi, Ashcroft, Slater, Kiltie (McKenzie), Hodson, Magennis (O’Hara), Dicker, Taylor
Falkirk: Rogers, Leahy, Muirhead, McCracken, Vaulks, Taiwo (Alston), Baird (Miller), Sibbald (Hippolyte), Kerr, McHugh, Watson
Sandy Ferguson's match pictures.