Kilmarnock boss Allan Johnston says score flatters Celtic

Kilmarnock boss urges his side on as they went down 3-0 to Celtic

Manager Allan Johnston felt 3-0 was unkind on Kilmarnock as a Kris Commons hat-trick earned Celtic victory at Rugby Park.

There was little between the teams in an uneventful first 45 minutes, however two quick goals from Commons turned the game in the visitors' favour.

The midfielder struck a third late on to seal the three points.

"There was a lot of good performances there tonight," said Johnston. "I think 3-0 flatters Celtic to be honest."

The Kilmarnock boss was happy with his side's commitment, but Celtic's ruthlessness in front of goal leaves the Ayrshire men still struggling to break clear of the relegation play-off position.

Johnston told BBC Radio Scotland: "You can see the performance tonight that the boys were up for it. They competed for large periods yet again.

"At half-time we spoke about Celtic - they're really dangerous on the counter-attack. The first two goals we got caught in possession, they broke quickly on us and they punished us.

"They're a quality team. Any chances they did have we defended them well to be fair. First-half we gave a really good account of ourselves, but we know second-half you can't afford to lose two goals in quick succession like that either."

He added: "We've got a lot of big games coming up, so we need to pull together and make sure we get ourselves higher up the table.

"But, it was a learning curve because that's the level they need to reach in their careers and I think they'll learn off a result like this that you can't afford to give the ball away."

Kilmarnock had appeals for a penalty turned down when Kris Boyd went down in the box after a tussle with Efe Embrose, and Johnston admitted the call could have gone either way.

He said: "It looked a bit of a clumsy challenge in the box and I've seen them given sometimes, but obviously the referee's closer than I was."