Ladbrokes Premiership



by Stewart McConnell

NEW Killie manager Lee Clark had cause for optimism despite his side being held in what was their first game in charge at Rugby Park on Saturday.

The home side missed a number of early chances as they enjoyed much of the early play.

However later in the game they had to fight a rearguard action and relied on goalie Jamie MacDonald to make some saves.

Clark was encouraged with his team's overall showing but insists there is room for improvement and said: "There were lots of positives we could take out of the game: the application of the players, the desire, the quality of football and the temp; we played. If we had come in at half-time ahead, it would have been deserved.. The frustrating thing is that we put on Kris Boyd, one of the most prolific scorers in the Scottish game. and we stop putting crosses into the area. The reason I put him on was because we were getting round the outside, putting plenty of crosses in and I knew he would get on one of the end of them and score. For some reason we have an asset like that and we change the mentality. That's a technical aspect that I can help the players with."

Early on Killie were impressive as they took the game to their visitors and a Josh Magennis shot from an angle was cleared off the line by a visiting defender.

Magennis and Conrad Balatoni then came close as the home side battled to pick up a much-needed win.

Visiting goalie Scott Bain then made a superb save to keep out a netbound free-kick from Craig Slater which took a slight deflection.

Dundee took until the half hour to forge their first clearcut chance when Greg Stewart threaded a through ball to Rory Loy, however recent signing Lee Hodson made a timely intervention with a superb block.

It was a different story after the break with the Dens Park side in control of proceedings. A late tackle from Hodson foiled Kane Hemmings. Then MacDonald, who has been such a key player this season, blocked a Paul McGowan shot. The home number one once again showed his class, tipping away a fierce effort from Hemmings as Dundee battled to make the breakthrough.

Right on full=time the home side had a lucky escape when Darren O'Dea knocked the ball onto Thomas Konrad, whose header glanced narrowly wide of target.

However Killie held on to secure a point and now have another tough test as they head to Tynecastle to face Hearts on Saturday.

STARMAN: Jamie MacDonald 3

Lee Hodson 2

Tope Obadeyi 1.