Scottish Premiership
Kilmarnock1Ross County2

Kilmarnock 1-2 Ross County

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Highlights: Kilmarnock 1-2 Ross County

Liam Boyce grabbed a double as Ross County beat Kilmarnock to secure seventh spot in the Premiership.

Conor Sammon fired Killie in front with a 10th-minute penalty after Jonathan Franks tripped Jordan Jones in the box.

County levelled through Boyce, who diverted the ball in from a yard out after Jamie MacDonald saved a Christopher Routis shot.

And the Premiership's top scorer Boyce lobbed home his 23rd of the season after Kristoffer Ajer's error.

Victory means the Staggies finish the campaign in seventh position on 46 points, with Killie a place below on 41.

The visitors started well with Boyce forcing an early save from MacDonald, but it was home side who took the lead.

Conor Sammon scores from the spot
Conor Sammon makes it 1-0 with a composed finish from the penalty spot

Ross County defender Franks appeared to clip the ankle of Jones and the Kilmarnock winger went to ground. Referee Bobby Madden pointed to the spot and Sammon fired the penalty into the bottom corner.

County had a great chance to hit back after a fantastic run from Marcus Fraser. The defender swung in a cross for Craig Curran but his glanced header flew wide of target.

The away side did find an equaliser before the break, however. Franks smashed a long-range effort off the post and when Routis fired the rebound goalwards, MacDonald parried it straight at Boyce, who headed home.

There looked to be a serious injury right on the stroke of half-time for young Kilmarnock forward Greg Kiltie. The 20-year-old was eventually taken off on a stretcher, to be replaced by Rory McKenzie. Kiltie had only recently returned to the Kilmarnock first-team after a six month absence following knee surgery.

Kilmarnock's Greg Kiltie
Kilmarnock midfielder Greg Kiltie went off before the break with a serious-looking injury

Aaron McCarey in the Ross County goal was forced into a fine double save from Adam Frizzell in the second half as Kilmarnock pushed for the three points.

But it was County who grabbed the crucial second and ultimately the winner. Killie defender Ajer missed his header and Boyce produced a cool lob over the keeper at the edge of the box to make it 2-1. It was the 24th goal in all competitions for Boyce, in what has been an incredible season.

McCulloch the man for Killie

Before the match, Kilmarnock director Billy Bowie revealed he wants Lee McCulloch to become permanent manager at the club.

As usual, the interim-boss played his cards close to his chest in the pre-match interview.

Ross County make it 1-1
Christopher Routis' effort was saved by Jamie McDonald but the keeper parried the ball straight at Liam Boyce, who nodded home for 1-1

But talks have taken place and it looks to be a matter of 'when' and not 'if' McCulloch gets the job in a permanent capacity. Clearly the club are keen.

Despite the defeat there is suddenly a buoyant atmosphere at Rugby Park. At Kilmarnock's Grand Hall on Saturday evening, the club were preparing to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their Scottish Cup win; it would be no surprise if informal talks continued there between McCulloch and Bowie.

Post-match reaction

Kilmarnock interim-manager Lee McCulloch: "We played really well today. Passed the ball, looked dangerous, we just didn't have a cutting edge up front."

On his future: "I would say hopefully we will just get a sit down with Billy [Bowie]. Billy is a really busy man and he has worked wonders with this club. Hopefully in the next few days we will get time and have a proper chat and hopefully come to some agreement for the way forward for the club.

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Interviews - McCulloch and McIntyre

"I want to speak to Billy Bowie and [fellow board member] John Kiltie and let's see if we can put a plan together for the future of the club, and that's all I am going to say."

Ross County boss Jim McIntyre: "That was the aim when we didn't make top six, to try and be the best of the rest. I'm delighted to do that. We deserved our victory today. I thought we started the game exceptionally well, created three or four golden opportunities and we didn't take them.

"Then we gave away the penalty and after that Kilmarnock had a good spell. We changed the system, which definitely helped, and continued to go and create goal scoring opportunities. It was great to get some young lads on the pitch as well."

On Liam Boyce's future: "He is under contract, he is a fantastic footballer. He's a great boy, he is conscientious about his job and the longer we can keep him the better.

"If he moves on to something bigger and better and somebody wants to pay the big bucks, then we will just need to deal with that, but that's just part and parcel of being a manager at a football club."

Line-ups

Kilmarnock

  • 1MacDonald
  • 24Taylor
  • 8DickerBooked at 67mins
  • 20Ajer
  • 3SmithBooked at 41mins
  • 36WilsonSubstituted forGrahamat 83'minutes
  • 11JonesSubstituted forCameronat 64'minutes
  • 18Longstaff
  • 21Frizzell
  • 10KiltieSubstituted forMcKenzieat 45'minutes
  • 19Sammon

Substitutes

  • 5Osborne
  • 7McKenzie
  • 25Roberts
  • 33Hawkshaw
  • 40Graham
  • 42Lyle
  • 44Cameron

Ross County

  • 31McCarey
  • 3Naismith
  • 2Fraser
  • 28van der Weg
  • 57Malcolm
  • 6O'BrienSubstituted forDingwallat 83'minutes
  • 12ChowSubstituted forDykesat 57'minutes
  • 4Routis
  • 17Franks
  • 10Boyce
  • 11CurranSubstituted forSchalkat 59'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Fox
  • 18McShane
  • 23Schalk
  • 50Kellior-Dunn
  • 52Tumility
  • 58Dingwall
  • 63Dykes
Referee:
Bobby Madden
Attendance:
3,951

Match Stats

Home TeamKilmarnockAway TeamRoss County
Possession
Home54%
Away46%
Shots
Home21
Away11
Shots on Target
Home6
Away5
Corners
Home5
Away4
Fouls
Home7
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, Kilmarnock 1, Ross County 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Kilmarnock 1, Ross County 2.

Foul by Adam Frizzell (Kilmarnock).

Liam Boyce (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. William Graham (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right.

Adam Frizzell (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Christopher Routis (Ross County).

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Russell Dingwall replaces Jim O'Brien.

Substitution

Substitution, Kilmarnock. William Graham replaces Iain Wilson.

Attempt missed. Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock) header from the right side of the six yard box is too high.

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Marcus Fraser.

Attempt missed. Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Attempt saved. Alex Schalk (Ross County) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Attempt blocked. Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. Alex Schalk (Ross County) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

Attempt saved. Conor Sammon (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt blocked. Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Steven Smith (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Innes Cameron (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Adam Frizzell (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Goal!

Goal! Kilmarnock 1, Ross County 2. Liam Boyce (Ross County) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Christopher Routis.

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Marcus Fraser.

Attempt saved. Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Aaron McCarey.

Attempt saved. Adam Frizzell (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Attempt saved. Adam Frizzell (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Booking

Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Alex Schalk (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock).

Attempt missed. Adam Frizzell (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Substitution

Substitution, Kilmarnock. Innes Cameron replaces Jordan Jones.

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Kristoffer Ajer.

Jordan Jones (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jason Naismith (Ross County).

Conor Sammon (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Blair Malcolm (Ross County).

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Alex Schalk replaces Craig Curran.

Foul by Steven Smith (Kilmarnock).

Dylan Dykes (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Dylan Dykes replaces Tim Chow.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic3733401042579103
2Aberdeen372341068353373
3Rangers371810954431164
4St Johnstone37177134944558
5Hearts371210155550546
6Partick Thistle371012153848-1042
7Ross County381113144858-1046
8Kilmarnock38914153656-2041
9Motherwell38108204669-2338
10Dundee38107213862-2437
11Hamilton38714173756-1935
12Inverness CT38713184471-2734
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