Kilmarnock: manager Allan Johnston praises striker Magennis

By Kenny CrawfordBBC Sport Scotland

Josh Magennis has been a stand-out player for Kilmarnock this season, according to manager Allan Johnston.

The Northern Ireland international scored two first-half goals in the 2-1 win in Perth against St Johnstone, leaving his manager delighted.

"He was fantastic again today," Johnston told BBC Scotland.

"He's been one of our best players all season. I'm just delighted for him getting the goals to match his performance."

Magennis, 24, began his career as a goalkeeper but switched to being a striker before moving north for spells at Aberdeen and St Mirren.

And, following a summer move to Kilmarnock, he has now netted three times this season.

His goals were both headers at McDiarmid Park and he had a number of other chances to secure the elusive hat-trick.

However, he did enough to help the East Ayrshire side go five games unbeaten in the league - four of them being wins.

"It was always an important game for us today after the international break," said Johnston.

Murray Davidson scores for St Johnstone
Murray Davidson netted the opener for St Johnstone but his side went on to lose the match

"I thought the boys did exceptionally well. We started slowly but you can see the quality we've got and we came back and won the game well."

Murray Davidson had put St Johnstone ahead with a controversial goal from James McFadden's cross.

"I've had a look at it and it doesn't look like it's over the line," said Johnston.

"It's a big call but the players reacted to that - they didn't let it faze them."

The Rugby Park side were without Alexei Eremenko and goalkeeper Craig Samson due to injury for their trip north.

But Johnston hopes to have the former, at least, back for their next game at Celtic.

"We're hoping Alexei trains next week," he said. "We didn't want to gamble by playing him this week. He was feeling the hamstring a wee bit so it's not worth it - you've got to look at the long term."

Meanwhile, Johnston was reluctant to say too much on the end-of-season bonus row currently enveloping Kilmarnock.

"The boys have been doing fantastic with the effort they're putting into every game," he added.

"They're not letting things effect them and we've just got to concentrate on the football."