Kilmarnock 0-0 Saints

Wednesday 4th December

Saints moved off the bottom of the Scottish Premiership this after securing a point in a solid performance at Rugby Park.

Saints best chance of the first half came after 18 minutes when Liam Gordon saw his header deflected behind for a corner by Chris Burke. Whilst Killie came closest right on half time however, Stephen O’Donnell saw his header go inches wide.

Into the second half and both sides pushed for the goal that would break the deadlock. Some good defending by Saints, with Liam Gordon in particular impressive at the back, and the Perth side also looked confident in possession going forward but just couldn’t find that final ball that on another day would have seen them leave Rugby Park with all 3 points.

Next up for Saints is a trip to take on Hearts at Tynecastle Park a week on Saturday.

MATCH REPORT

Four days after having their first away game for six weeks Saints were back on the road this evening as they made the trip to Rugby Park to take on Angelo Alessio’s Kilmarnock. Following Saturday’s 4-0 defeat at Motherwell Tommy Wright made five changes to his starting eleven. Out went Wallace Duffy, Scott Tanser, David Wotherspoon, Matty Kennedy and Stevie May to be replaced by Liam Gordon, Callum Booth, who was making his debut for the club, Liam Craig, Drey Wright and Michael O’Halloran. A stoppage time goal from Dario Del Fabro secured Killie a point on Saturday against Hibernian at Easter Road and there were two changes to the Ayrshire sides starting eleven. Liam Millar and Eamonn Brophy came into the team to replace Rory McKenzie and Osman Sow.

Kilmarnock got the game underway but it was Saints who would show the most promise in the early stages. On 11 minutes Drey Wright did well to intercept a slack pass and he then played in Chris Kane who had a shot at goal which hit the side netting.

It was a good start by Saints and on 18 minutes they were award a free kick in an inviting area following a foul on Kane. Liam Craig took the free kick and he played it short to Drey Wright who sent a good ball into the box picking out Liam Gordon however, the defenders effort was deflected for a corner. it was taken from the right as Craig’s delivery picked out Ali McCann but he was unable to get his header on target.

The home fans were becoming frustrated with their side who were second to every ball however, just after the half an hour mark Killie had their first proper chance at goal. They were award a free kick out wide on the right following a foul on Stephen O’Donnell by Callum Booth. The resultant free kick was taken by Chris Burke and his in-swinging delivery into the box picked out Dario Del Fabro but the defender, on-loan from Juventus, couldn’t direct his header on target.

Then up the other end on 37 minutes great play by Saints saw O’Halloran played in however, the Saints attacker saw his effort go inches wide; the ball then trundled along the byline before being cleared by the Killie defence.

Kilmarnock came close again right on half time as another Burke free kick found the head of O’Donnell but his effort went inches wide.

Saints got the second half underway and they showed their intent within the first 30 seconds of the half as Jason Holt saw his effort from just outside the box go wide of Laurențiu Brănescu’s right-hand post.

Just before the hour mark Liam Gordon had to look lively at the back post as he made a great defensive block to clear a header from Alex Bruce.

Then up the other end a couple of minutes later Jason Holt held the ball up well before setting up Ali McCann whose shot from distance went over.

The match started to become more open and Killie were next to create a chance to break the deadlock as the ball was played forward to Burke and he had a strike at goal which was well saved by Zander Clark. A stramash then followed in the Saints box, which included an appeal for a penalty by the home side which was waved away by referee Bobby Madden, before the ball was eventually cleared.

On 68 minutes Drey Wright’s cross into the Kilmarnock box was spilled by Brănescu but the Killie keeper was able to gather the ball at the second attempt with O’Halloran lurking to take advantage of any further slip by the Romanian keeper.

Both sides then made a couple of changes as they tried to find a way of breaking the deadlock with both David Wotherspoon and Matty Kennedy coming on for Saints.

It was a good solid performance by Tommy Wright’s side and in the closing stages of the match they were the team that was pushing for a winner. With 4 minutes remaining Wotherspoon picked up another slack ball by Killie and Saints broke forward with Spoony linking up well with McCann and Holt. The ball was then sent out wide to substitute Matty Kennedy who played it back into the box. The ball eventually broke to Ralston on the edge of the area but the on-loan defender was unable to get his effort on target in what was the final chance of the match.

Kilmarnock: Brănescu, O’Donnell, Del Fabro, Bruce, Hämäläinen, Power, Dicker, El Makrini (Sow 74), Millar (Thomas 73), Burke, Brophy (McKenzie 84)

Unused Substitutes: Koprivec (GK), Johnson, Wilson, St Clair

Booked: Dicker

Saints: Clark, Ralston, Kerr, Gordon, Booth, Craig, Wright (Wotherspoon 73), McCann, Holt, O’Halloran (Kennedy 82), Kane

Unused Substitutes: Parish (GK), May, Swanson, Duffy, Tanser

Booked: Ralston

Referee: Bobby Madden

Attendance: 4,083 (89 Saints fans)

Match Report by Daryl Scott

Picture: Chris Kane gets away from Stephen O’Donnell