Devlin McKay, Taylor Queen, Callum McFadzean, Martin Smith , Josh Webb, Sam Lidington , Adam Frizzell (Oliver McDonald 88), Dean Hawkshaw, Innes Cameron, Florent Bojaj , Lewis Morrison (Jack Whittaker 57).
Subs Not Used: Curtis Lyle, Lewis Clark.
Mark Foden, Blair Malcolm, Chris McLaughlin, Sam Morrison, David Brownlie, Dylan Dykes, Reghan Tumilty, Russell Dingwall, Greg Morrison, Tom McLennan, Ross MacIver.
Subs: Ross Munro, Davis Keillor-Dunn, James Wallace, Mathew Hall.
Gary Kirkpatrick @ Rugby Park
A strong Kilmarnock team comfortably disposed of high-flyers Ross County at Rugby Park despite being reduced to ten men in the second half.
Killie were leading 2-1 when Martin Smith was shown a straight red on 76 minutes following a needless push on a County player in the build-up to a free-kick. It may have seemed harsh but in no way should Smith have reacted in the way he did.
The advantage was with the Highlanders and they pressed for an equaliser - but only briefly. The strength and quality of the home side’s line-up shone through and two goals in six minutes put a potential County come-back to bed.
Innes Cameron bagged a brace - his second was superb - while Callum McFadzean’s tap in and Jack Whittaker’s strike helped kill the contest. The only downside of the match was when Lewis Morrison had to be stretchered off following a fair but strong tackle from the County full-back.
In the end, it was a very impressive Kilmarnock victory, one which they desperately craved, especially when they hadn’t won in the league since the beginning of November against Hibernian.
Adam Frizzell, Dean Hawkshaw and Flo Bojaj all contributed to Killie’s routine victory as their experience of first team football was evident in their play. Frizzell provided a spark in attack while Bojaj and Hawkshaw’s technical and passing abilities kept them on top.
But the star of the encounter was the tall figure of Innes Cameron. The striker opened the scoring after half an hour when, after his first two efforts were saved by keeper Mark Foden, the ball fell to him again before eventually firing home to give his side the lead.
He was a menace all game and caused County all sorts of problems. His performance was encapsulated in his second goal. With the ball at his feet, he nutmegged the full-back on the byline, skipped past another before slotting the ball under the keeper’s legs from an acute angle.
While this is only one stand-out display, the big man has a bright future in Ayrshire and could find himself becoming the next Kris Boyd in the coming years. He has all of the raw abilities to succeed in the professional game - strength, pace and an eye for goal.
The Highlanders started this match in second place in the Development League but failed to consolidate that position after a lethargic performance, albeit against a very strong Kilmarnock line-up.
They quickly settled into the match and had a couple of decent chances in the first half but couldn’t take them. However, they found the net just before the interval through Greg Morrison’s looping header.
County momentarily pressed for an equaliser after the restart but Killie began to dominate proceedings and didn’t really get a look in for much of the second period. Killie’s Whittaker put any chance of a come-back out of sight with his well-taken goal after 86 minutes.
Killie had a lot of the ball throughout the match and played some very nice football at times. They also had numerous shots on goal - namely Morrison’s curling effort from long range as well as a free header for Cameron, which he should’ve scored.
The young lads continued their good play even after Smith’s dismissal when Cameron and Whittaker helped make the three points safe. However, on another day, it could’ve been five or six for the Ayrshiremen.
The U20 lads have an extended break to enjoy over the Christmas and New Year period. They’re not back in action until January 17 when they face Partick Thistle away.
All images © Sandy Ferguson and should not be reproduced without his permission