No. of Shots
Shots on Target
Jamie MacDonald, Lee Hodson, Conrad Balatoni, Stuart Findlay, Steven Smith, Gary Dicker , Craig Slater (Scott Robinson 88), Rory McKenzie (Dale Carrick 85), Greg Kiltie, Tope Obadeyi (Adam Frizzell 72), Josh Magennis.
Subs Not Used: Conor Brennan, Lee Ashcroft, Kris Boyd, Mark O'Hara.
James Morrison @ Fir Park
As your reporter from the Tannadice debacle I did wonder about making the trip to Lanarkshire and paying £23 to see the two sides in 10th and 11th place play each other on a chilly February afternoon, but football never ceases to amaze and with the unexpected extra thrill of a body frisk before I’d even paid my money!
Quite why the stewards at Fir Park had been briefed to act like security personnel at an airport will remain a mystery and I can only wonder if the Rugby Park stewards will be as vigilant with visiting fans on Tuesday evening.
Anyway... the football:
In short: best Killie performance this season, two shut outs in a row, solid, organised, hard-working, creative, Jamie MacDonald having his easiest game since he joined us, and even the enigmatic Tope having his best game for ages!
I didn’t make that up and the other 375 Killie fans who were there weren’t dreaming either.
After a bright start from the home side it wasn’t long before Killie stated to impose themselves on the game with Craig Slater, Greg Kiltie, Rory McKenzie and Tope Obadeyi buzzing around with Josh Magennis disrupting and disturbing whichever claret and amber jerseys got in his way.
Kiltie created some space in the box and his shot from just inside the area took a wicked deflection off a defender and flew just wide with birthday boy Connor Ripley diving desperately. Tope Obadeyi then cleverly dispossessed Morgaro Gomis, cut in from the right and fired a left-foot shot that the Motherwell goalkeeper, on loan from Middlesbrough, managed to block and dive on.
Ripley showed he was in fine form as he made two outstanding saves from Killie free-kicks – firstly from Slater and then from Killie skipper-for-the-day Stevie Smith. The one from Smith was particularly acrobatic as he turned away the left foot curler from 25 yards.
Motherwell rarely threatened and their only real “effort” in the first half came as the half drew to a close when speed merchant Marvin Johnson came close when his cross from the left deflected off Conrad Balatoni and looped on to the roof of the net.
At half time the chat amongst the away fans was about how Killie had dominated, not taken their chances and the form of the ‘Well stopper. Mark McGhee introduced the home side’s top scorer Moult for Ainsworth and I did wonder if his team could be as poor in the second half.
They briefly threatened and MacDonald actually had to make a routine save – it was good that he got a feel of the ball as he must have been frozen due to lack of action.
Killie made the breakthrough after 56 minutes with a terrific team goal from a sweeping move which reminded me of a certain goal on 18th March 2012. Lee Hodson broke up the play and passed forwards to Josh who laid it off to the solid looking Gary Dicker who switched the ball over to the left to Craig Slater.
Meanwhile Magennis and Kiltie were making runs into the box as Slater passed it back to Smith. He clearly saw young Greg running in at the back post and swung over an inch perfect cross which was simply scooped into the ‘Well goal by the youngster right in front of the travelling fans... woooohooo!
It was all Killie and when we did have to defend it was great to see how organised the back four and Dicker were; it’s interesting that we now have two full backs playing in position as opposed to two young centre backs being asked to play as full backs under the previous manager.
5 minutes after the first goal Killie struck again with another very well worked goal which started just outside our own penalty area with the impressive Slater passing to the ever-willing McKenzie who played the ball back to Stevie Smith.
Smith again noticed Kiltie free and pinged a pass through to him on the left; Greg ran forwards and immediately laid it off for the advancing Slater who had started the move.
The young Killie midfielder surged through the middle unchallenged before an excellent finish pass the despairing dive of Ripley.
Killie probably should have scored more when Magennis just missed with a near post effort and the impressive Dicker whistled a 40-odd yard drive onto the net support.
The home side eventually woke up and did make MacDonald make a diving save in the final minutes before Moult struck the junction the post and bar in the dying minutes.
Reflecting on the game I was pleased that the game went the way it did which will be great for confidence for the Killie players and interim management.
Frankly, as their manager admitted, the home side were diabolical; they should perhaps have lost more goals but for the efforts of their keeper – there is a familiar ring to that story!
We can now look forward to Tuesday’s game and wonder what will happen... starting with a security frisk before every fan enters the ground?
Lee McCulloch: "I'm obviously delighted with the performance, but I think the most important thing today was getting the points, I was especially pleased in the second-half performance. We created chances and the Motherwell goalie's made a good few saves and we maybe could have had one or two more goals today. While I'm delighted with the performance it's only the start of the hard work. It's a pleasing day but we are in again tomorrow, we've had no days off for about two weeks, but we have a big game on Tuesday and it's just all about working hard and keeping everybody together. Nothing's change for me it's just a day at a time. I don't know what will happen from now on, but I'm delighted with the players today."
All images © Sandy Ferguson and should not be reproduced without his permission