Ladbrokes Premiership



by Stewart McConnell

SPIRITED Killie plundered a point at rain-soaked Firhill but could have taken all three following an impressive second half performance.

It was a good way to bounce back from the demoralising 4-0 midweek defeat against Hearts at Tynecastle as the visitors produced a much more assured performance.

Killie would be glad to see the back of a testing year which saw them just beat the drop through success in the playoffs and the Rugby Park side will be hoping for much better things in 2017.

Now Lee Clark's side can enjoy a three-week break safe in the knowledge that they now four points clear of basement side Inverness Caley Thistle.

Thistle had the ball in the net two minutes in when Jamie MacDonald made a superb save to deny Chris Erskine from 25 yards and Kris Doolan netted the rebound from 25 yards but the "goal" was chopped off for offside.

A minute later at the other end Souleymane Coulibaly had his strong effort blocked by Adam Barton.

The Killie number one then made another stunning reflex save to foil ex-Kilbirnie Ladeside striker Erskine from just outside the box in 11 minutes.

Ryan Edwards saw his effort from 25 yards deflected wide by a Killie defender in 15 minutes. Then a minute later a Coulibaly effort from 12 yards was well saved by Tomas Cerny.

Charlee Adams headed the ball back to MacDonald to break up a Jags attack in 26 minutes with Thistle dominant. Another chance came the way of the Jags in 33 minutes when Barton had his shot from 25 yards well saved by MacDonald.

Thistle were unlucky again in 41 minutes when an Erskine effort at the near post was deflected wide by a Killie defender. Greg Hawkshaw aimed a pass at Gary Dicker deep inside the box in 51 minutes but a home defender cut out the danger. Nathan Tyson whipped a cross into the box in 58 minutes but found no takers.

Doolan once again headed home for the hosts in 61 minutes but the assistant referee had his flag raised for offside.

Florent Bajaj sent a lob wide from six yards for Killie in 69 minutes.

Substitute Adam Frizzell shot straight at Cerny 25 yards out a minute later. A well-struck Coulibaly volley from 12 yards was easily saved by the home goalie in 78 minutes.

A thunderous 25-yard drive from Bojaj was scrambled wide by the home defence in 85 minutes and Coulibaly headed the resultant corner-kick over the bar. Ade Azeez aimed a pass at Doolan inside the box in 87 minutes but MacDonald gathered the ball.

Killie had their best chance of the game in 89 minutes when Steven Smith's thunderous 30-yard drive was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Cerny. But it ended all-square.

KILMARNOCK: MacDonald; Smith, Dicker, Tyson, Adams, Coulibaly, Bojaj, Taylor, Hendrie, Hawkshaw, Wilson. Subs: Mackay, Boyle, Boyd, Jones, Frizzell, McLean, Cameron.