Scottish Premiership
Kilmarnock2Motherwell0

Kilmarnock 2-0 Motherwell

A stunning early strike by Robbie Muirhead was the highlight of an assured Kilmarnock victory over Motherwell at Rugby Park.

The 18-year-old fired into the top left-hand corner from 25 yards to give the hosts a brilliant start.

And Motherwell goalkeeper Dan Twardzik twice denied Josh Magennis excellently as Killie sought to go further ahead.

The visitors' day got worse when Fraser Kerr was dismissed, with Sammy Clingan netting the resulting free-kick.

A first competitive win, then, for Allan Johnston's men on their new artificial surface, something Motherwell boss Stuart McCall will not be able to point to as the only reason for a poor performance.

Despite the sunshine, there was an air of gloom in East Ayrshire as home fans realised they were without Craig Slater and Michael Ngoo due to injury.

However, the latter's replacement quickly made them forget.

Having just sliced a wild effort out for a throw-in, the ball broke to Muirhead from the ensuing set-piece and he unleashed a out-swinging left-foot shot, which seemed to catch Twardzik off guard.

It was an incredible way for the Irvine-born forward to score only his third senior goal.

Motherwell's John Sutton
Motherwell's John Sutton is brought down inside the box but is denied a penalty

Almost immediately, Magennis, who was a live-wire all afternoon, had two glorious chances to extend Killie's lead but Twardzik showed quality to keep them out.

The Czech goalkeeper - whose brother Filip played in Celtic's defeat in Inverness - smothered Magennis's first effort from close range before palming away another right-foot shot by the Northern Irishman two minutes later.

Rory McKenzie was next to test Twardzik, zipping in a low shot that was tipped around a post.

Motherwell gradually imposed themselves and appealed, in vain, to referee Willie Collum when John Sutton went down under a challenge from Manuel Pascali when looking to go through on goal.

Iain Vigurs' 30-yard free-kick soon after the break suggested The Steelmen would make the second-half a more even affair and, though Killie were not looking quite as potent as the opening 45 minutes, the hosts still had an attacking edge that escaped McCall's side.

Henrik Ojamaa did get the chance to dispossess Kilmarnock defender Mark Connolly and bear down on goal, but failed to get his shot away before other defenders tidied up Connolly's mistake.

The next error was Kerr's. His high-footed challenge on Jamie Hamill was deemed worthy of a straight red card by referee Collum.

And, up stepped Clingan to confidently dispatch the set-piece low past Twardzik.

Magennis deserved a goal of his own but was denied that again in injury time, Twardzik beating away his low angled drive.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Inverness CT431050510
2Hamilton43015329
3Dundee Utd43017709
4Kilmarnock42115417
5Celtic32019276
6Dundee41303216
7St Johnstone420235-26
8Partick Thistle31116334
9Aberdeen310224-23
10Motherwell410315-43
11St Mirren300304-40
12Ross County4004310-70
View full Scottish Premiership table

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