Scottish Premiership
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Kilmarnock 2-2 Aberdeen: visitors come from two goals down

By Thomas DuncanBBC Scotland

Aberdeen came from two goals down to preserve their eight-year unbeaten record at Kilmarnock - but slipped further behind third-place Motherwell in the Scottish Premiership.

Eamonn Brophy's penalty and Greg Kiltie's strike put Kilmarnock clear, but Niall McGinn volleyed in Connor McLennan's cross and the latter headed in the equaliser in the second half of an absorbing contest.

But despite battling back, Aberdeen slip three points behind Motherwell in the race for third.

The point keeps Kilmarnock in seventh place, four points off sixth place Hibernian, but they are yet to win in four matches since defeating Rangers on 12 February.

Aberdeen rely on Rugby Park hoodoo

Fewer things have been as certain in Scottish football in the last decade than Aberdeen not losing to Kilmarnock. Under Derek McInnes, they had lost just one match in 27 to the Ayrshire side, and stretching slightly further back hadn't been defeated at Rugby Park in 16 games, since December 2011.

Even in the Scottish Cup a fortnight ago, Alex Dyer's side were 1-0 up with two minutes remaining in normal time, then 3-2 ahead with four minutes of extra-time left, and still contrived to lose 4-3.

This latest collapse might leave them feeling that Aberdeen have conjured some sort of voodoo magic to ensure they will never be defeated at Rugby Park, especially given how emphatically Kilmarnock had rattled their opponents in the opening 25 minutes, and they finished the stronger too.

They carved open Aberdeen's unconvincing defensive pairing of Ash Taylor and Mikey Devlin - starting in the absence of the injured Scott McKenna - at will. And the in-form Brophy was at the heart of it.

The narrative surrounding him at the start of the season was of a striker who worked incessantly to get himself into scoring positions, but lacked the killer touch to take those chances. But his calm finish from the spot - awarded for a handball by Taylor - means he has scored six goals in his last six league games, more than he managed in his previous 32 appearances.

He had already flashed two warnings by forcing Joe Lewis into action, then striking a post having capitalised on Devlin's error.

Luckily he had some help from Kiltie, who punished a missed tackle by Taylor, which came from a terrific driving run by centre-back Stuart Findlay straight through the heart of the Aberdeen midfield.

Brophy graphic

But as sure as death and taxes, there was an Aberdeen response at Rugby Park. They settled, and McGinn showed the flash of quality they desperately needed as he drove the ball into the net after a nice delivery from McLennan.

And the Kilmarnock fans would have greeted the Aberdeen equaliser with weary familiarity, as Matty Kennedy dropped the shoulder to nip round Stephen O'Donnell and whip in a fierce cross, which McLennan dived to head in just five minutes into the second half.

In a stretched final 40 minutes, both sides had chances to grab a winner. Lewis stopped two thunderous Brophy free-kicks, while the Aberdeen goalkeeper also managed to beat clear O'Donnell's Zidane-esque volley. Nicke Kabamba also failed to steer two headers into the net from decent positions in the box, while Devlin and Curtis Main went close for Aberdeen.

But after another dramatic 90 minutes between these pair, Kilmarnock must wonder if they will ever beat Aberdeen at home again.

The visitors meanwhile, who were without top-scorer Sam Cosgrove due to a back injury, continue to limp in pursuit of third-place.

Man of the match - Connor McLennan

BBC Scotland's John Barnes at Rugby Park

McLennan played a major part in this Aberdeen comeback. He provided the cross for McGinn's goal and then was in the right place to head in Kennedy's cross for the equaliser. However, he was treading a thin line, having been booked and manager McInnes replaced him with Bruce Anderson.

Gary Dicker and Findlay both produced fine performances for Kilmarnock, while Brophy caught the eye with his shoot on sight policy and his composure to score from the penalty spot.

'It's not a penalty' - reaction

Kilmarnock manager Alex Dyer: "The team performance was very good in periods. We start very well, go two goals up and then we panic for the last 15 minutes of the first half and carry it on in the second.

"But, when it goes back to 2-2, we started playing again. I'm very disappointed. Like last time, we had chances to win the game."

McInnes pleased with 'good point' at Kilmarnock

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes: "The first goal, for me, is not a penalty. It's hit Ash Taylor in the back. He's turned round and kept his hands and arms right in and I'm disappointed the referee has given a penalty for that.

"It's a good point in the end after being two goals down."

Line-ups

Kilmarnock

Formation 4-4-2

  • 12Branescu
  • 2O'Donnell
  • 19Broadfoot
  • 17Findlay
  • 14Hämäläinen
  • 29Burke
  • 7McKenzie
  • 8Dicker
  • 10Kiltie
  • 9Brophy
  • 27Kabamba

Substitutes

  • 5Johnson
  • 22Millen
  • 24Koprivec
  • 25St. Clair
  • 26Del Fabro
  • 33Taylor
  • 52Connell

Aberdeen

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Lewis
  • 2LoganBooked at 65mins
  • 14TaylorBooked at 17mins
  • 6Devlin
  • 4Considine
  • 18McLennanBooked at 69minsSubstituted forAndersonat 75'minutes
  • 19FergusonBooked at 64mins
  • 22Ojo
  • 23KennedyBooked at 80mins
  • 10McGinnSubstituted forHedgesat 90+1'minutes
  • 9Main

Substitutes

  • 8Hernández
  • 11Hedges
  • 17McGeouch
  • 20Cerny
  • 21Gallagher
  • 25Anderson
  • 32MacKenzie
Referee:
Alan Newlands
Attendance:
4,217

Match Stats

Home TeamKilmarnockAway TeamAberdeen
Possession
Home48%
Away52%
Shots
Home18
Away9
Shots on Target
Home9
Away4
Corners
Home9
Away1
Fouls
Home10
Away17

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Kilmarnock 2, Aberdeen 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Kilmarnock 2, Aberdeen 2.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Nicke Kabamba (Kilmarnock) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Niko Hämäläinen.

  4. Substitution

    Substitution, Aberdeen. Ryan Hedges replaces Niall McGinn.

  5. Post update

    Offside, Aberdeen. Lewis Ferguson tries a through ball, but Bruce Anderson is caught offside.

  6. Post update

    Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Andrew Considine.

  7. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Stuart Findlay (Kilmarnock) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Rory McKenzie with a cross.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Shaleum Logan.

  9. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Matthew Kennedy.

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Nicke Kabamba (Kilmarnock) left footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Niko Hämäläinen.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Nicke Kabamba (Kilmarnock) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Stephen O'Donnell with a cross.

  12. Post update

    Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Andrew Considine.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Funso Ojo (Aberdeen).

  14. Post update

    Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  15. Post update

    Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Eamonn Brophy (Kilmarnock).

  17. Booking

    Matthew Kennedy (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Matthew Kennedy (Aberdeen).

  19. Post update

    Stephen O'Donnell (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  20. Post update

    Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Michael Devlin.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic29252284196577
2Rangers28204463194464
3Motherwell29143124037345
4Aberdeen2911993735242
5Livingston29109104138339
6Hibernian29910104146-537
7Kilmarnock2996143140-933
8St Johnstone2871292746-1933
9Ross County2978142959-3029
10St Mirren2868142336-1326
11Hamilton2959152950-2124
12Hearts28410143050-2022
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