Dundee Utd 1-2 Kilmarnock: Gary Locke boosted by Killie win

By Alasdair LamontBBC Scotland at Tanandice
Billy McKay and Jamie MacDonald
The heroics of Jamie MacDonald (right) kept United at bay

Kilmarnock manager Gary Locke is hopeful the win over Dundee United - their first of the season - can kick-start their campaign.

A late strike by Kevin McHattie and an inspired performance from keeper Jamie MacDonald helped Killie take all three points and ease the pressure on Locke.

Kallum Higginbotham had scored the opener from the spot but United's Billy McKay netted a penalty of his own.

"It's part of being a manager," acknowledged Locke.

"I'm confident in my ability as a manager.

"I think it's important to remember we've made a lot of changes in the summer - nine out and eight in - and it's never easy for everyone just to hit the ground running.

"But I'm not one to make excuses either. We haven't done well enough up until now but today is hopefully a result that can kick-start our season.

"It gets the monkey off our back if you like. I think the players showed today what they're capable of, especially in the first half, we played some great stuff and if we can play like that consistently I think we'll do very well."

Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara
United boss Jackie McNamara says the "signs are there of us turning the corner"

Both MacDonald and McHattie served Locke well when he was manager of Hearts and were pivotal to the win at Tannadice, with the keeper performing heroics at times to keep United out.

"Yeah but that's why I brought him to the club," added Locke. "Sometimes you've got to get your strikers to get you out of jail and at other times you need your defenders and goalkeeper to do their job and that's what Jamie's done again.

"Great debut for him (McHattie). I was surprised he was available to be fair but he's come in and I thought he played very well.

"I'm also delighted for our supporters who've come up here and it was important we didn't let them down because we've let them down on two or three occasions this year but thankfully today the boys have put in a performance that merited their support."

As the pressure eases on Locke, it begins to mount on his United counterpart Jackie McNamara.

They slip to 11th place despite their manager believing they did enough not only to take a point but to win the game.

"I thought we were totally dominant but that seems to be the way things have been going, we haven't had luck in front of goal and maybe the last bit of quality hasn't been there," he told BBC Scotland.

"We had enough chances to win a few games, I thought we looked sharp, threatening and we've paid the price for not taking the chances but I'd be more disappointed if we hadn't been creating the chances.

"If we keep doing the things we are, our luck has to change."

But McNamara conceded that second-bottom of the Premiership is not good enough for United.

"It's something we obviously need to put right," he added. "The signs are there of us turning the corner."

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