Scottish Premiership
KilmarnockKilmarnock2St JohnstoneSt Johnstone1

Kilmarnock 2-1 St Johnstone

By Liam McLeodBBC Scotland at Rugby Park
Kilmarnock midfielder Rory McKenzie
Rory McKenzie's cross led to Kilmarnock's winner

Kilmarnock made it back-to-back wins for the first time since January as they came from behind to beat St Johnstone.

David Wotherspoon gave Saints the lead on the rebound from a Graham Cummins header that had hit the post.

Josh Magennis levelled before the break as Killie recovered.

Rory McKenzie's cross deflected off Brian Easton and deceived Alan Mannus to put Killie ahead and they held on for a maiden home win of the season.

The Rugby Park side draw level on points with seventh-place Saints, who must pick themselves up for a Scottish League Cup tie at Rangers on Tuesday.

Killie and Saints were chasing their first home and away wins of the campaign, respectively.

And after last week's morale-boosting Tannadice triumph over Dundee United, Gary Locke sent the same team out again, resisting the temptation to throw in new signing Conrad Balatoni.

Last week's hat-trick hero Steven MacLean was forced to sit out the match on the artificial surface with John Sutton plugging the gap up front for St Johnstone.

Kilmarnock have toiled at times on their own patch and have twice been bludgeoned at home this season. Dundee and Ross County both left Killie licking their wounds with 4-0 butcherings.

David Wotherspoon scores for St Johnstone against Kilmarncok
Wotherspoon (far left) knocked in the opening goal

The match opened in quiet and even fashion with Saints striker Cummins claiming he had been hauled down just inside the box but referee Willie Collum was not interested.

The visitors did not have to wait long to get in front, however.

After excellent play by Liam Craig, Easton crossed for Cummins, whose header beat Jamie MacDonald and rebounded off the post allowing the on-hand Wotherspoon to slot home.

It was just Wotherspoon's second goal in more than two years.

Saints had been the better team and looked the more dangerous; despite Killie seeing more of the ball they struggled to break down their visitors' defence.

As the match drew closer to the interval, the hosts began to grab the game by the scruff of the neck.

Killie's best bet appeared to be in the wide areas and it was from there they would level proceedings.

Josh Magennis scores for Kilmarnock against St Johnstone
Magennis headed Kilmarnock level

Greg Kiltie exhibited what he can do with a superb cross for Magennis, who stretched his neck to loop a header past Mannus and equalise.

Killie had won just one of the previous 15 meetings with Saints and it was Magennis who scored both that day.

While Killie lost Daryl Westlake to injury in the first half, Darnell Fisher was withdrawn at the interval for Saints with Mark O'Hara and Steven Anderson the respective replacements.

MacDonald has been inspirational for Kilmarnock this season and one of Locke's worst nightmares became reality when an early second-half collision saw him succumb to the injury.

Ulsterman Conor Brennan replaced him at the end of a week that saw him recalled from a loan at Stranraer after fellow keeper Devlin McKay left for Derby County.

However, it was his opposite number Mannus who was left watching in horror as Killie turned the game on its head.

McKenzie's cross from the touchline nicked off Easton and looped over the Northern Irishman.

The St Johnstone supporters would look on aghast again moments later when Michael O'Halloran was denied by an excellent last-ditch challenge by Lee Ashcroft.

The hosts looked re-born from the toiling side of early-season and McKenzie almost made it three - Mannus saving at his feet when one-on-one and Kallum Higginbotham's effort on the rebound bouncing off the left-hand post.

Saints pushed for a leveller and Brennan held on to a late Wotherspoon deflected effort.

Line-ups

Kilmarnock

  • 21MacDonaldSubstituted forBrennanat 53'minutes
  • 12WestlakeSubstituted forO'Haraat 38'minutes
  • 18Ashcroft
  • 5Findlay
  • 22McHattie
  • 23KiltieSubstituted forObadeyiat 76'minutes
  • 4Hamill
  • 19SlaterBooked at 8mins
  • 11Higginbotham
  • 7McKenzie
  • 28MagennisBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 8Robinson
  • 9Boyd
  • 13Brennan
  • 14O'Hara
  • 16Obadeyi
  • 17Splaine
  • 26Balatoni

St Johnstone

  • 1Mannus
  • 22FisherSubstituted forAndersonat 45'minutesBooked at 49mins
  • 2Mackay
  • 14Shaughnessy
  • 24Easton
  • 10Wotherspoon
  • 7Millar
  • 26CraigSubstituted forLappinat 72'minutes
  • 29O'Halloran
  • 18Cummins
  • 11SuttonSubstituted forKaneat 76'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Scobbie
  • 4Lappin
  • 6Anderson
  • 8Davidson
  • 12Clark
  • 25Kane
  • 27Thomson
Referee:
William Collum
Attendance:
3,165

Match Stats

Home TeamKilmarnockAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home48%
Away52%
Shots
Home14
Away11
Shots on Target
Home3
Away4
Corners
Home0
Away3
Fouls
Home7
Away8

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Kilmarnock 2, St. Johnstone 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Kilmarnock 2, St. Johnstone 1.

  3. Post update

    Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Stuart Findlay.

  4. Post update

    Attempt saved. Chris Millar (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  5. Booking

    Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock).

  7. Post update

    David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  8. Post update

    Attempt saved. David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  9. Post update

    Craig Slater (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone).

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left.

  12. Post update

    Attempt saved. Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) header from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Kallum Higginbotham (Kilmarnock).

  14. Post update

    Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Post update

    Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Stuart Findlay.

  16. Post update

    Attempt missed. Tope Obadeyi (Kilmarnock) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Graham Cummins (St. Johnstone) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Kilmarnock. Tope Obadeyi replaces Greg Kiltie.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, St. Johnstone. Christopher Kane replaces John Sutton.

  20. Post update

    Attempt missed. Michael O'Halloran (St. Johnstone) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.