in Match Reports December 23, 2016
Alan Cochrane @ Rugby Park
On an evening that got colder and colder, Kilmarnock’s performance became more and more ineffectual. For the first quarter of the game Killie more than matched the visitors, but were seldom causing real difficulty in the final third. McKenzie had completed a decent early move with a drive which the St Johnstone keeper spilled away for a corner, Taylor slipped between two defenders and provided a good cross that Coulibaly was muscled out of, and Jones finished a thrust by shooting well wide. St Johnstone on the other hand grew into the match. Kane shot just wide after a scramble in the home goalmouth, Davidson hit the woodwork with a header, and then just before the break, put the visitors ahead. A corner on the right was fired low just outside the six yard box, and a completely unmarked Davidson side-footed the ball into the net.
Killie worked hard to get back into the game at the start of the second half. Coulibaly shot straight at Clark in the St Johnstone goal, Smith volleyed wide, and a 30 yard Coulibaly free kick was well saved by the keeper. The closer scrapes were at the other end. MacDonald had good saves from Wilson, an amazing double save from Cummins when the Kilmarnock defence had been posted missing, and substitute Liam Craig also hit woodwork. Luke Hendrie completed a sorry night for Kilmarnock by getting yellow carded when he let frustration get the better of him by the Saints “game management”, and then compounded it by an immediate second yellow for unwise words to referee Stephen Finnie.
Saints manager Tommy Wright thought both teams had tried to provide a decent game of football, and was happy with the result, especially in difficult conditions. The same could not be said for Lee Clark. He was frustrated. He also took responsibility. “The decision to bring on Kris Boyd was the right one, to take off Nathan Tyson was the wrong one. We didn't deserve anything from the game this evening.”
Kilmarnock: MacDonald, Smith (Cameron), Boyle, McKenzie (Hawkshaw), Dicker, Jones, Tyson (Boyd), Wilson, Coulibaly, Taylor, Hendrie
St Johnstone: Clark, Alston, Anderson, Millar, Davidson, Wotherspoon, Swanson (Craig), Shaughnessy, Foste, Easton, Kane (Cummins)
Referee: Stephen Finnie
Sandy Ferguson's match pictures.