Ladbrokes Premiership



By Stewart McConnell

HIGH-flying Killie are unbeaten in nine games after putting struggling Hamilton to the sword at Rugby Park.

They are now seven points clear of sixth-placed Hearts with the clocking ticking to the end of the season and seven games remaining.

Manager Steve Clarke was encouraged with his side's display as they continued their remarkable turnaround in his charge and said: "It's another win for us - and that's always a good habit to have. It wasn't a great game but scrappy. But I think all the moments of real quality came from ourselves. It wasn't pretty but we did what we had to do and if it had been an open game of football, I still think we would have won it."

Clarke shuffled the pack, with Kirk Broadfoot missing through suspension and Yousouf Mulumbu and Jordan Jones given a rest.

Killie made the breakthrough inside just five minutes and the goal came about thanks to some highly enterprising play. Gary Dicker and Eamon Brophy teamed up to release Stephen O'Donnell on the right and his cross picked out Lee Erwin six yards from goal. He controlled the ball with his right foot, swivelled and fired home with his right.

Then in 19 minutes Rory McKenzie came so close when his excellent volley 20 yards out glanced narrowly over the bar.

Home goalie Jamie MacDonald then wrong-footed Antonio Rojano on the edge of the six-yard box.

Then on half-time, Accies failed to clear their lines after a Rory McKenzie corner-kick and the ball fell to O'Donnell, who found the net from 30 yards.

Five minutes later visiting goalie Gary Woods made a stunning reflex save to thwart Kris Boyd.

In 71 minutes MacDonald saved confidently from a Gergios Sarris header as Killie easily saw the rest of the game out.

KILMARNOCK: MacDonald; O'Donnell, Boyd, Findlay, Taylor, McKenzie, Power (Wilson 87) Brophy (Kiltie 80) K Boyd (Jones 72) Erwin. Subs not used: Fasan, Burke, Mulumbu, Simpson.