Kilmarnock assistant boss Jimmy Nicholl praises young stars

Stuart Carswell and James Fowler

Kilmarnock assistant manager Jimmy Nicholl singled out the performance of Ross Barbour in the 2-0 home league win against nine-man Motherwell.

Barbour's 13th-minute shot deflected off Motherwell's Stevie Hammell to give the home side an early lead in a match where the visitors lost their cool.

Nicholl said: "Our young players keep showing composure and temperament.

"Ross Barber has a willingness to get up the park, but it's just as important for the senior players to help them."

Hammell's early opener gave way to a host of chances for Motherwell, but Stuart McCall's men were unable to find a way through before Killie's William Gros headed in the second on 71 minutes.

The visitors unravelled in the closing stages of the match, with Fraser Kerr and captain Keith Lasley both sent off.

"We had a great start, going at them, stopping them from playing and then we scored a goal and then we stopped playing," said Nicholl.

"We couldn't get a grip of the game. Fair play to Motherwell, they were passing the ball about and moving and posing us lots of problems.

"It was swathes of attack and we couldn't get a grip or hold the ball - and we were playing far too deep.

"We told the players at half time they couldn't keep it up for another 45 minutes, so they were a lot better in the second half - and we got a great second goal.

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Interview: Kilmarnock assistant manager Jimmy Nicholl

"Motherwell just lot a wee bit of discipline, so it made it comfortable for us when they went down to nine men."

Nicholl has now overseen back-to-back home wins from the dugout with manager Kenny Shiels banned to the stand for remarks made about match official Andrew Dallas.

Shiels will now return to regular dugout duties, and Nicholl joked that he was relieved to be handing back the reins to his boss.

"This is my last week - happy days," said Nicholl. "If he can keep his mouth shut, this will be my last time out here speaking to you."

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