Scottish Premiership
KilmarnockKilmarnock3St JohnstoneSt Johnstone0
By Jonathan SutherlandBBC Scotland at Rugby Park

Kilmarnock recorded their first victory under new manager Lee Clark, which should ease the automatic relegation fears for the Rugby Park club.

Kris Boyd opened the scoring with a free-kick midway through the first half, giving the hosts a deserved lead.

Kallum Higginbotham netted a back-post header after the break.

Liam Craig had a headed goal chalked off, before Boyd slammed home a late penalty won by Rory McKenzie. Despite losing, Saints secured a top-six place.

Victory lifts the Ayrshire side eight points clear of bottom side Dundee United and maintains the four-point gap between Killie and 10th-placed Hamilton Academical.

Interviews: Clark and Wright

Eager hosts get reward

Having improved defensively, Kilmarnock had struggled for goals since the arrival of Clark in mid-February but after a slow start the home side started to create chances.

A great cross from Josh Magennis found Boyd in the box and his shot beat Alan Mannus only to his the post.

The goal-hungry Kilmarnock faithful would get the breakthrough they desperately craved. A free-kick was awarded on the edge of the St Johnstone area and Boyd fired into the bottom corner - his first goal since December.

There was a huge sense of relief in the wild celebrations, from both players and fans.

St Johnstone tried to respond and almost equalised through Craig, but his close-range shot was superbly saved by the outstanding Jamie MacDonald.

Kilmarnock almost went further in front, Higginbotham playing the ball into the path of Boyd to pull the trigger but Tam Scobbie appeared from nowhere to make a vital block.

Immediately after that Kilmarnock had the ball in the net, Higginbotham with the strike but it was ruled out for offside.

Magennis went close either side of half-time and Scobbie had a chance to shoot for Saints but blazed high into the stand.

Kilmarnock were soon 2-0 in front. Magennis crossed from the right and Higginbotham made no mistake with a downward header at the back post.

Craig then netted with a header at the other end but a push on Mark O'Hara meant there was no goal.

St Johnstone's Bulgarian defender Plamen Krachunov was next to be denied, his header brilliantly saved by MacDonald.

Kilmarnock would wrap up all three vital points right at the end. McKenzie was fouled in the box and from the spot Boyd was on target again as the home side claimed what could be a huge win as they attempt to beat the drop.

Line-ups

Kilmarnock

  • 21MacDonald
  • 14O'HaraBooked at 16mins
  • 4AddisonBooked at 78mins
  • 26Balatoni
  • 27Hodson
  • 23KiltieBooked at 23mins
  • 36Faubert
  • 29Dicker
  • 11HigginbothamSubstituted forMcKenzieat 75'minutes
  • 28MagennisBooked at 33mins
  • 9Boyd

Substitutes

  • 5Findlay
  • 7McKenzie
  • 8Henshall
  • 13Brennan
  • 18Ashcroft
  • 19Slater
  • 39Frizzell

St Johnstone

  • 1Mannus
  • 22FisherBooked at 23mins
  • 3Scobbie
  • 66Krachunov
  • 14Shaughnessy
  • 10Wotherspoon
  • 7Millar
  • 4Lappin
  • 26Craig
  • 16SwansonSubstituted forCumminsat 79'minutes
  • 25KaneSubstituted forSuttonat 79'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Doyle
  • 11Sutton
  • 12Clark
  • 18Cummins
  • 20Brown
  • 31Hurst
  • 36Gordon
Referee:
Crawford Allan
Attendance:
3,693

Match Stats

Home TeamKilmarnockAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home47%
Away53%
Shots
Home10
Away7
Shots on Target
Home4
Away3
Corners
Home3
Away5
Fouls
Home12
Away10

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Kilmarnock 3, St. Johnstone 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Kilmarnock 3, St. Johnstone 0.

  3. Post update

    Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Darnell Fisher (St. Johnstone).

  5. Goal!

    Goal! Kilmarnock 3, St. Johnstone 0. Kris Boyd (Kilmarnock) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

  6. Post update

    Penalty Kilmarnock. Rory McKenzie draws a foul in the penalty area.

  7. Post update

    Penalty conceded by Joe Shaughnessy (St. Johnstone) after a foul in the penalty area.

  8. Post update

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

  9. Post update

    Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Lee Hodson.

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. Chris Millar (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, St. Johnstone. Graham Cummins replaces Danny Swanson.

  12. Substitution

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

  13. Post update

    Foul by Miles Addison (Kilmarnock).

  14. Post update

    Danny Swanson (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  15. Booking

    Miles Addison (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Kilmarnock. Rory McKenzie replaces Kallum Higginbotham.

  17. Post update

    Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Jamie MacDonald.

  18. Post update

    Attempt saved. Plamen Krachunov (St. Johnstone) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  19. Post update

    Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Mark O'Hara.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Julien Faubert (Kilmarnock).

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