Matchzone: St Johnstone (A)
Kilmarnock’s winning run concluded with a 2-1 loss to St Johnstone under the McDiarmid Park floodlights on Wednesday 1st November.
Derek McInnes named an unchanged starting XI and bench from the squad that impressed in a 2-0 victory against Aberdeen the previous Sunday.
In contrasting form, St Johnstone approached the game in search of their first win of the league campaign, inspired by new interim manager Alec Cleland.
A rapid start from the hosts proved too much to overcome, with Killie falling to a quickfire double from Nicky Clark.
It took a mere minute for the Saints number 10 to open the scoring, courtesy of a VAR check. Clark was first to react to a fine stop from Will Dennis, pouncing on a rebound and slotting home prior to the far side linesman’s flag being raised for offside. VAR subsequently intervened, placing the home side in front.
Saints’ advantage was doubled with 7 minutes on the clock as Clark bagged his second of the game. The attacker rose highest to meet a set-piece thrown into the box, nodding past the Killie keeper from close range.
Killie attempted to recover from early setbacks and began to dictate spells of possession in the Saints half, but it would take until the second period to find a route past Dimitar Mitov.
The second half started in similar fashion to the first; with the net being found within two minutes of the referee’s whistle. It was Killie’s captain Kyle Vassell who halved the deficit, and increased his personal tally to four goals in three games. The forward strided onto an arrowed cross from fellow Northern Irishman Matty Kennedy, slotting into the keeper’s bottom left corner from just inside the box.
The visitors carved the clearer opportunities in the half-hour that followed, going closest through a Joe Wright header which was glanced narrowly past the post.
Still a goal in front, Saints found themselves a man down with 15 minutes to play when Matty Kennedy was scythed by Dara Costelloe on the main stand touchline. A yellow was initially awarded, before being upgraded to red courtesy of a VAR check.
Killie threw bodies forward in the final 10 minutes, with Fraser Murray and Andy Dallas being called upon from the bench. A succession of corners and half-chance passed, but the vistors were unable to find a leveler.
Result: St Johnstone 2-1 Kilmarnock
St Johnstone lineup: Mitov, Considine, McGowan, Gordon, Kane (Brown 79), Clark (May 59), Carey, Robinson, Smith (Phillips 85), Sprangler, Costelloe.
Kilmarnock lineup: Dennis, Mayo, Findlay, Wright, Armstrong, Lyons (Donnelly 45), Watson (Dallas 80), Polworth, Kennedy, Watkins (Murray 86), Vassell
Post match reaction
Speaking at full-time, Derek McInnes stated that his side had “paid the ultimate price for such a sloppy start.”
You can listen to the full interview – HERE.
You can watch alternative highlights of matchday 11 – HERE.