No. of Shots
Shots on Target
Jamie MacDonald, David Syme, Conrad Balatoni , Lee Ashcroft , Scott Robinson, Craig Slater (Jamie Hamill 22), Kevin McHattie (Dale Carrick 81), Rory McKenzie (Tope Obadeyi 66), Greg Kiltie, Josh Magennis, Kris Boyd.
Subs Not Used: Conor Brennan, Stuart Findlay, Kalum Higginbotham, Adam Frizzell, ,
Alan Walker @ Rugby Park
Pre-Saturday 3pm, it was a tough time to be a Killie fan. We were royally gubbed by relegation favourites (according to the bookies) Dundee Utd last week, we’ve conceded almost the most goals in the whole of Scotland (thanks East Stirling), we’ve no presence on the pitch, in the managerial staff or in the boardroom. So, with the game against Hamilton, Killie were almost at rock bottom. The only way is up, right?
This week’s line up consisted of MacDonald in goals (who must be wondering what he has done to deserve this), a back four of Syme, Ashcroft, Balatoni and McHattie, McKenzie, Robinson, Kiltie, Slater and Magennis in the middle and in-from-the-cold Boyd up front. Obviously, that didn’t last for long. It was clearly a nervous affair for both teams, with neither showing much guile, promise, or basic footballing awareness.
In a strange twist from what would be the norm, on the fifth minute, McHattie raced up the left wing and laid the ball off to Kiltie. Kiltie stepped away from his marker and crossed the ball into Boyd, who showed a good footballing brain to hold the ball up and then lay it off to McHattie who had continued his run. He should have done better with his shot, however, and fired wide.
The first sign of any action from Hamilton was a shot blasted high from Ziggy Gordon, following a corner. Hamilton sensed a weakness in the Killie defense, particularly from corners, and Ali Crawford shot wide from another corner around 15 minutes into the game. Crawford was getting a lot of change out of the Killie defense and should have done a lot better when he was put through on goal following a typical Lee Ashcroft smash on Morris.
The ball didn’t see much of the artificial turf in the first half, with both sides content to head it back and forth and back and forth and back and forth ad infinitum. However, when the ball did finally land on the ground for long enough, Hamilton wasted their opportunities by shooting wide and Magennis wasted a great cross from Kiltie by heading over.
Magennis was set-up by Boyd after more good hold-up play, but he blasted straight at the keeper from a long way out.
The second-half went much the same way as the first; with Hamilton spurning chances, Imrie and Crawford in particular without a sight on their shooting boots. They were, at least, getting shots at goal.
Killie weren’t getting much out of the game and Boyd was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when he went down under a challenge following a Magennis cross. Following that incident, Hamilton raced up the pitch and Dougie Imrie shot just over from the East-Stand side.
Jamie Hamill, on for the injured Craig Slater in the first half, should have done a lot better when he met a Greg Kiltie cross with his head. However, he misjudged his leap and the ball sailed well over the bar. Boyd did a little better from a freekick soon after, but couldn’t get the ball under the cross-bar, with McGovern well beaten.
Naturally, it was from a corner that Killie met their undoing. Syme lost his man and Morris got a free header, beating MacDonald in the process.
Obadeyi replaced McKenzie and McHattie was replaced by Carrick in the genius tactical move of ‘get more strikers on’. Obadeyi injected some much-needed pace and enthusiasm (and some little-needed erraticness) into the team. He did well down the East Stand side and fired a cross in for Carrick, who collected around the six-yard box but fired over. That was to be last meaningful event in the game.
However, what was more meaningful was that Gary Locke handed in his resignation on the Saturday night, which was gladly accepted by the board. Said board have instated interim manager Lee McCulloch for the Scottish Cup clash against Rangers on Saturday. Rumour abound that Killie have reached out to Billy Davies for the next managerial appointment. However, the Killie faithful will hope that the board go through a better managerial scouting process than they did with the last few incumbents.
Killie still sit in the relegation playoff position, eleven points ahead of Dundee Utd (who have two games in hand) and one point behind Thistle (who have three games in hand). Whoever they appoint as their next manager will have an uphill struggle of epic proportions to keep Killie up this season.
Gary Locke: "It's difficult, But the players have to take responsibility on the pitch. I didn't think there was a lot between the two teams, A set piece wins it for them. Overall it was a poor game with both sides - especially ourselves early in the game - looking nervous. We saw a lack of confidence from some of the players, but the only way they're going to get through it is by digging in. It looked [a penalty] from where I was, I didn't see any reason for Kris to go down, he's the type of lad who wants to score a few goals. It was a bad result, but there wasn't anything in the game. We didn't get outplayed or anything like that, it's just a bit of confidence lacking. The only way you're going to get that back is by winning football matches. We're well aware that we need to start doing that."
Gary Locke "resigned" the same evening.
All images © Sandy Ferguson and should not be reproduced without his permission