No. of Shots
Shots on Target
|Goals||Boyd (16 pen)
21: Jamie MacDonald, 04: Jamie Hamill, 18: Lee Ashcroft,
05: Stuart Findlay, 03: Steven Smith, 14: Mark OHara,
19: Craig Slater (33: Dean Hawkshaw 88), 07: Rory McKenzie,
17: Aaron Splaine (16: Tope Obadeyi 80), 09: Kris Boyd,
23: Greg Kiltie (11: Kallum Higginbotham 79).
James Morrison @ Rugby Park
August in Edinburgh is Festival Time but this year August has seen a goal fest at Rugby Park - sadly most have them been scored against the home side including two horrific 0-4 defeats.
Just under 1,500 fans turned up on Tuesday night wondering what would happen as Killie lined up against Berwick Rangers who will always be remembered for defeating the original Rangers FC in the Scottish Cup in 1967.Would the team managed by former Hearts, Wolves and Scotland midfielder Colin Cameron upset a Killie side low on confidence and self- belief ?
Berwick started brightly with the “big team” looking nervous and hesitant. Blair Henderson and Michael McKenna shot just wide for Berwick but Killie then got the chance to strike first when Kiltie set off a surging run only to be tripped by McKenna who needlessly tripped him on the corner of the penalty area. Despite a desperate dive to his right from Berwick keeper Walker Boyd’s right foot strike found the bottom corner of the net.
That goal clearly gave most of the Killie players confidence and Craig Slater, starting his first game this season, was clearly making a difference to a Killie midfield which had been bereft of drive and creativity.
Within minutes the ever willing McKenzie found the predatory striker with a perfect cross but Boyd headed over when it seemed simpler to score.
Having scored and missed Boydie then hit a post and forced a goal-line clearance all before half-time.
It was then time for McKenzie to slice his shot into the Chadwick Stand after being cleverly set up by Splaine - it actually was Magennisesque and reminded me of Josh’s miss last week against Celtic. Splaine then brought out an excellent stop from the Berwick keeper.
Half-time and leading 1-0 butwould Killie regret spurning so many opportunities against lowly opponents?
The answer would be “yes” as 10 minutes into the second half when Lavery equalised. Receiving a pass from Henderson, the striker drove forward and launched a powerful left-footed strike past MacDonald from 20 yards before running across to celebrate with the 40-strong Berwick supporters.
It was a good strike but how many goals are Killie going to lose with defensive midfielders or defenders failing to shut down the opposition?
Fortunately, parity would only last for 15 minutes though; Walker had produced a stunning save and Cameron had made two excellent goal-line clearances from Kiltie and Boyd, but Splaine squared for McKenzie in the box and he picked his spot past the ‘Gers keeper.
The outstanding Slater then surged forwards in the 77th minute and with Boyd retreating from an offside position the young midfielder eased into the penalty area and clipped a sublime finish into the net - game effectively over....phew!!
Berwick were now being over-run and Splaine struck the bar as the part-timers tired, cue two Killie substitutions with Higginbotham and the enigmatic Tope Obedayi replacing Kiltie and Splaine.
Slater left the field to a thoroughly deserved ovation as he was replaced by yet another homegrown youngster as Dean Hawkshaw made his debut.
The game could have just have fizzled out but Tope had other ideas and set off on one of his trademark runs against the tired Berwick defence; he was blocked by sheer numbers but squared the ball to the pink footed Higgy who was about 25 years from goal. Using Chick Young’s journalistic licence it was at least 30 yards.......when Kallum swung his dainty pink right boot....THWACK....what a strike with ball screaming passed the despairing goalie into the top corner!
I can only wonder what is in those luminous pink boots and whether other players will now dare to wear them.
Final score 4-1 and perhaps a surprisingly comfortable victory.
Some reflections: The development of young Killie talent was clearly delayed by Gary Locke’s predecessor. It is now great to see the likes of Kiltie, O’Hara, McKenzie, Splaine and Ashcroft being first team regulars.
The return of Slater should help out what has been a mis-firing midfield but concerns must remain about the defensive midfielder slot - will O’Hara be moved there? I feel sorry for the young lad who seems to have played right back, central defence, central midfield and even left midfield in the last 12 months! I simply doubt whether Hamill is the longer term answer in that important role.
Saturday at Fir Park will show whether cracks were papered over or whether the side can now show some progress and actually win a league game.
At least it appears that another former manager could be available IF the board were to decide that Locke was not the appointment they had hoped he would be.
Another five goals and it should be an entertaining season if each month brings 17 goals at Rugby Park – a Festival of Goals- but hopefully it will be the home side scoring the majority from now on. We’ll see....if not then it’ll soon be stick or twist time.
Gary Locke: "I'm pleased we got four goals rather than conceded four. We had to respond from the weekend. Confidence was a bit low but once we went in front you could see the weight lifted from some of their shoulders and they started to get on the ball and play. That's what they show in training so we are hoping they now take that into games. It's been a difficult couple of games but we responded in the right manner. [On Mark Connolly] He has a bad knee injury. We are still waiting from the results of the scan but at the moment it doesn't look too great. They are maybe talking six to nine weeks."
All images © Sandy Ferguson and should not be reproduced without his permission